PROPERTY COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
16 FEBRUARY 2023
The Chair Commissioner Tracy Wilburn opened the meeting asking Commissioner Matt Rubelsky to offer a prayer and lead the pledge. The Chair asked Commissioner David Adams if he would give an update on absentee Commissioner Tim Risner. David said Tim was home, the stem cell treatment is showing good results.
The Chair then allowed Bobby White, a local real-estate citizen to speak on a lot at 2285 Crescent View Road, Pulaski. Per Mr. White he wanted to address the committee as an initial start in granting approval for an easement across county property for water/sewer. That easement would then allow, on the 28 acre parcel of land, a possible site of up to 50 new houses. That site would be private property within the city boundaries. Mr. White chose to come to the county first and then would get city approval. A question by Commissioner Evan Baddour on “permission only requested” but no funding involved, was answered by Mr. White as correct. Commissioner Mathew Hopkins asked if this easement would in any way make the county owned property unusable, and also requested more information. The County Executive (CE) Graham Stowe said that at this time Mr. White is looking for notional approval only with other information requiring development afterwards. Other discussion questions were about location of easement, and if county chose not to allow easement, what would be the possibility of development. Mr. White answered possibly three houses rather than 50. A motion by Commissioner Baddour and seconded by Commissioner Hopkins was made for Mr. White to do due diligence and come back for actual approval. The motion was approved unanimously.
Next Agenda Item – Update on Courthouse. Per the CE the contractor OHM, an architecture, engineering and planning firm, has an exercised option of $32K to recommend phasing, cost estimates, and security (e.g. justice center separate or within courthouse) on the upgrades/refurbishments to the courthouse. Per the CE the stakeholders and users of the courthouse will or have been consulted so as to do the cost estimating and phasing. Commissioner Baddour questioned the necessity for such a delivery given previously provided information. The CE said some of the areas require specialized experience, such as some done in sequence. A member of the Public spoke up and said why discuss this further when the option has already been selected within the contract. Commissioner Annelle Guthrie said in the previous courthouse update by OHM, they had said the building of a separate justice center would have been more cost effective. The CE said they had given a price range of $10M – $20M but little specificity. Commissioner Guthrie also spoke to the proposed ramps when there is an elevator; which is for ADA accessibility per the CE. Commissioner Guthrie also spoke to no room for expansion at the courthouse. Commissioner Baddour said even if approved today the Justice Center would be in the years to having available, and wanted to discuss a more short-term approach. The CE said he is assembling the team of stakeholders that will be working with OHM, and also that CTAS references the need for an annual security report is due the commission on the courthouse. Chrystal Greene, Circuit Court Clerk, said she and the circuit judge were putting a committee together now. Her concern was that you can’t shut every door and there are too many entrances that people can use. Commissioner Rubelsky said we need to do something now, e.g., establish basic use, and what you have to do, and for OHM to give us some options, basic, possible offsite, for example. The CE said OHM will be required to come back and talk to this body. Commissioner Baddour said security concerns are more from a random citizen intent on doing harm and that we need to protect courthouse employees and others in the courthouse in the short term. The CE said new security alarms are being installed that will show location. Commissioner Shelby Goolsby mentioned her experience in the schools and in a church where they kept the doors and the hardware but used some modifications inside, i.e. magnetic hold. Since this was for information no motion was required.
Next Agenda Item – Future EMS site. The CE mentioned two county properties and one requiring purchase on the Minor Hill and bypass location. And that he had been working with Roy Griggs, Emergency Medical Services (Ambulance), who had some surveys from his employees. The CE had developed a “heat map”, a representation of ambulance responses to calls in 2022, over those three sites and that representation was shown on screen. Some takeaways: population based, one site has a concrete pad and one a building (may be a plus or a minus), consolidating local government functions a plus. The CE recommended all visit the current ambulance site. The CE had developed a decision matrix showing criteria and how each site meets that criteria and that was also provided in a handout. That criteria and associated weights were 1) accessibility and response times 33% 2) future expansion possibilities 7% 3) anticipated costs (land and structure) 13% 4) existing structure and infrastructure 27% 5) consolidation of services (Fire, Rescue, EMS, 911, etc.) 10%. Evaluating against that criteria, using those weights, the county owned property, the current Fire and Rescue Station near the jail, was determined to be the highest recommended solution. And the CE said the matrix is to guide not to make the final decision. He recommended identifying two sites and with notional approval. He then turned the meeting over to Emergency Services Director Bill Myers who discussed several of the criterion used to evaluate the sites giving both pros and cons for each. Commissioner Baddour asked about the train and the industrial traffic for the highest recommended site and their impact on response time. He gave example of the train issue and what options are available but still drive the response time. The railroad personnel said only do one or two a week and if becomes an issue they would work to minimize. Commissioner Baddour discussed using traffic signals to control the volume when necessary and those could be done from the station (would need state approval). Commissioner Roger Reedy asked about consolidating efforts and would that mean the “new building” for EMS be abandoned and Bill answered yes, although other uses would be found, with the most likely being the E911 facility. Commissioner Terry Jones said we need to look at how to pay and he would like to hear Roy Grigg’s input. Roy said 911 should be able to put their dollars in, and the hillside on the bypass property could be used to embed that protection. He spoke of other counties doing similar locations. He thought the Fire and Rescue location might be difficult given the size of the current building. He said he had talked to the regional traffic officer who said the egress on the Minor Hill/By pass location should not be a problem; the major highways aren’t necessarily the worse problem mentioning the back roads, with the possibility of the 911 service also helping to finance and there might be others and recommended that site be purchased. Commissioner Terry Jones asked about the urgency, i.e., wait or go now? Bill Myers said the urgency is real, talking of kicking down the road costing much more. Commissioner David Wamble mentioned the two speed limits, i.e. highway 166 having 45 mph and highway 11 having a different speed limit, and why. Commissioner Curry said probably based on curves but question could be asked. Commissioner Brad Butler mentioned the industrial property would require going through a neighborhood, not good. Commissioner Dr. James Lathrop thanked all for their ground work but the commissioners were not involved and would like to see all three sites be the subject of an unbiased study. Commissioner Joyce Woodard in referencing the airport site discussed another organization which had been told of the obstacles such as flight path, not perking, couldn’t tie into Valley Packaging and if they couldn’t how could the county. She mentioned the bypass site and said if 911 or the Board of Education building, or animal shelter or others could also be co-located, that she could see lots of possibilities. Commissioner Shelly Goolsby mentioned the $16K an acre price on the by-pass (noting considerably higher than usual for Giles County) and or we only assuming the cost would be $800K. The Chair said they had been offered $600K but said no. Commissioner Guthrie said although she as a citizen would benefit from the industrial location, that the road was treacherous and with many choosing to go the wrong way since a shorter distance (on Rocky Road), and there is no way to expand that road, given the nearby homes. Commissioner Lathrop said need to address the flight path at the airport location, and should not let fear of approach make determinations since crashes happen on all roads. The CE mentioned future towers or antennas, with comment by Commissioner Lathrop those could be offset. A motion by Commissioner Baddour and seconded by Commissioner Joyce Woodard for a contract to determine if the airport location would perk, with options in cost for water/sewer needs was made. An Amendment to that motion by Commissioner Gayle Jones, seconded by Commissioner Hopkins to include in the motion to hire a soil scientist was made. Both motions were approved six to one with a roll call vote. Those voting yes were Commissioners Chair Tracy Wilburn, Annelle Guthrie, Gayle Jones, Mathew Hopkins, Evan Baddour, Shelly Goolsby and voting no Joyce Woodard. Another motion by Commissioner Baddour and seconded by Commissioner Joyce Woodard was made to determine if the 911 organization would be willing to relocate and contribute to the cost of the site regardless which site is chosen. Motion approved.
Dr. Joe Fite, County Medical Examiner, also did a follow up with Roy Grigg’s comments. He sees the $800K as the best option, noting the new building will need to include a medical examination facility and he suggested with geo thermal, or solar heating could be more cost effective. His concerns were some of the same as others for the Fire and Rescue location. Commissioner Gayle Jones said about 4 ½ years ago the state said we would have to add on to the jail. We are going to need a justice building. She had discussed the airport property and the potential use of a septic tank at that location. She recommended a more in-depth look. Commissioner Guthrie had spoken to the Pulaski Mayor, J.J. Brindley, and he was enthused about the possibility of a new location and said the city had planned on talking this Saturday in their strategic planning session. Commissioner Joseph Sutton asks who actually owns the airport location with the CE answering both county and city, and with Commissioner Sutton saying they might not agree. Commissioner Terry Jones suggested give a list of all we want to look at and also did not think they were close to picking just two. Commissioner Matt Rubelsky said how much 911 can contribute is important information and that the commission needs to be thinking about the future, especially the consolidation of county functions. He further said going to have to spend money in order to grow. Bill Myers appreciated the input and said need guidance on what you want us to do.
New Business – Chrystal Greene asked if she could continue to use the old archives for storage of files at this time. Commissioner Reedy said the CE has the authority to make that decision, with the CE saying wanted to run by the Committee. A motion by Commissioner Gayle Jones, seconded by Commissioner Shelly Goolsby was unanimously approved.
New Business (continued) Commissioner Joyce Woodard discussed a phone request from a citizen who said when rainy or foggy the light on highway 166 stays on. The CE said he was looking at some TDOT grant possibilities. Commissioner Curry said they will be changing to radar detection which is approximately $15K to do. Commissioner Wamble said this is a safety concern and has urgency, so need to fix quickly. A member of the public said is happening highway 11 as well, and Commissioner Goolsby said also at end of Popular. Commissioner Curry said PES maintains regardless of who owns and then bills city or county. Commissioner Wamble said can we proceed and the CE answered yes.
A motion by Commissioner Gayle Jones to adjourn was made, seconded by Commissioner Goolsby and was approved.
Attendees: Members of the Committee – Commissioners Chair Tracy Wilburn, Annelle Guthrie, Gayle Jones, Joyce Woodard, Mathew Hopkins, Evan Baddour, Shelly Goolsby Other Commissioners – Roger Reedy, Joseph Sutton, Brad Butler, Matt Rubelsky, Maurice Woodard, Dr. James Lathrop, David Adams, Caleb Savage, Terry Jones, Erin Curry, Judy Pruett, David Wamble Other County Executive Graham Stowe, Medical Services (Ambulance) Director Roy Griggs, County Medical Examiner Dr. Joe Fite, Financial Management Director Beth Moore-Sumners, Nancy Griffin, Bill Myers Director Emergency Management Services, Real Estate and Developer Bob White, members of the public