Mayor Bailey Looks Ahead

Mayor Jason Bailey

On Saturday, August 25, 2018, Dr. Jason Bailey was sworn into office as Mayor of Union County. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Bailey to discuss his ideas and plans for the county. After our discussion, it became obvious that Dr. Bailey and HistoricUnionCounty.com have one goal in common: to promote all the positive attributes of Union County.

During our chat, I learned that Mayor Jason Bailey developed an interest in politics and county government when he was in college. “I worked at the Court House for Chancery Court and it just really fascinated me on how all the different departments worked together and how the government worked,” said Bailey.

As Bailey grew older, his interest in government increased. He had been watching local politics and knew Mayor Williams would not run for re-election. “I thought, you know what? This is my shot,” said Bailey. After praying about it and giving it much thought, Bailey made the decision to run for Mayor of Union County and prepared himself to leave his rewarding job with the school system if elected. “That was a tough decision, leaving a great job that I had down there, if I was elected. I prayed about it and got my answer that this is what I needed to do,” said Bailey.

Now that the election is over, Bailey is ready to get started. He advocates communication and getting along with others as one of his strengths. “I think I’m really good at getting along with people and helping others to get along. I’ve learned that along the way. In all the different areas I’ve been involved in, you have to be able to communicate, talk to people and listen. Obviously, as principal of the school you have to communicate with your staff, your students, your parents and your community,” replied Bailey.

And he is going to do just that. Soon after the dust settles, he is wanting to have town hall meetings in every district to find out what the biggest needs are. His desire is to meet in a common area like a school or community center with the commissioners and citizens. Bailey said that the idea is just to sit down and have a brain storming session to find out the needs and what they can do for each district.

In addition, Mayor Bailey has recently been meeting with Ann Dyer to discuss county finances and learn the inner workings of the finance department. Bailey said, “Ann runs a very tight ship.” He agrees with most that centralized financing has been wonderful for Union County. “I think centralized finance is probably one of the best things we have ever done in this county. I know Mayor Williams put that together and I applaud him for that. And I think placing Ann there is a really awesome thing. I think she does fantastic. I don’t see any changes,” said Bailey.

Mayor Bailey is also on board to get new and updated parks in Union County. “Parks and recreation are a huge part of the county,” said Bailey. Currently, Union County is working with the Parks and Recreation board in developing a strategic plan for our parks. The previous administration completed the parks recreation survey and Mayor Bailey is ready to take the next step. Bailey thinks the new and updated parks will provided more opportunities for recreation for kids and adults. The parks and recreation board gathered input from the community in a series of meetings and now Mayor Bailey is ready to do what he can to get new parks in our county.

Another project that has been in the works for some time and one that Mayor Bailey feels is of high importance is bringing high speed broadband internet access to Union County. And according to Bailey, it is part of our economic growth as well as industrial development and is needed to bring in jobs. County officials have been meeting with Sunset Digital and looking into a plan to provide high speed broadband internet access to areas of the county where it is currently unavailable. “It needs to happen; has to happen in order for us to grow,” said Bailey. Sunset Digital is looking to install a fiber backbone in the Sharps Chapel area as well as Maynardville and around the Hickory Valley area. Mayor Bailey says, “We are on the right path to getting that done.”

In addition to having high speed broadband internet access, we also need the infrastructure to support industrial manufacturers. “I want to get that going as soon as possible,” said Bailey. Having a direct four lane highway to the interstate will be a huge selling point for the county. In addition to improving Highway 33, TDOT is wanting to straighten out some of the curves on Highway 61. Improvements to both of these highways will expand the opportunity for job growth in Union County.

While talking with Mayor Bailey, one thing was clear: Bailey wants to bring jobs to Union County. Improving broadband, fixing our roads and providing the utilities that big businesses are looking for all tie together to attract new businesses. “Your bigger companies look at your trained work force,” said Bailey. TCAT (Tennessee College of Applied Technology), a post-secondary vocational training school, can provide the skilled workers businesses are looking for.

Currently, the county and the school system are working together to bring TCATs to Union County. A lot of kids are interested in vocational training and they can get it for free with Tennessee Promise. “I want it here as quick as possible. I think the faster we can get it here, the more it’s going to open up for industry to come in, the more we are going to get our kids trained. And our kids are going to be able to stay in this county to work,” said Bailey. He also indicated TCATs is not just for students but anyone wanting to build the skill set employers are looking for. And after TCATs is in place, then why not check into a Walters State or a Pellissippi State Community College.

With all of this new growth, some issues are going to intensify and parking around the court house will be one of those. Bailey thinks the Ailor Property is ideal, but it may not be the most financially smart move for the county due to the condition of the building and the asbestos that it contains. According to Mayor Bailey, there may be additional options. Other properties around the court house may be acquired such as a strip in front of the court house, the property next to the EMS building and the street just behind the court house that could be repurposed.

Another issue that will intensify with population growth is the overcrowded jail. Bailey agrees that we need a new jail and must get creative in our efforts to fund its construction. “When your county grows so does your inmate population,” said Bailey. He also believes that when you build a new building it is important to repurpose the old one.

His goal is to see Union County become proactive instead of reactive. It is inevitable; we will need funding. By being proactive, Mayor Bailey believes we can save for the day when we need a building. By setting aside small amounts of funds over a long period of time, we help prevent the need to raise taxes or implement wheel taxes.

An immediate concern for many Union County citizens is the Court House’s lack of ADA compliances. Mayor Bailey agrees we have to be ADA compliant. Whatever we have to do to make the building ADA compliant just has to be done. We are a public building that receives state funds and federal funds; we have to be ADA compliant said Bailey. This is something Mayor Bailey wants to work closely with commissioners on.

Originally, making the court house ADA compliant and flipping the Court House entrance was two separate projects that got lumped together. His goal is to separate the projects and bring the courthouse into compliance first.

“Say you have a citizen coming in to pay their taxes, and they have a hard time getting in that back door and up the elevator to Gina’s office. That’s unacceptable. It’s a public building. It’s for our citizens. It has to be accessible to all,” said Mayor Bailey.

Mayor Bailey says he’s not in it for the political gain or the title of Mayor. He’s in it because he wants the best for Union County and he wants to see the county grow.

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Give a Kid the World

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Events

Need A Ride To Church

Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 10:00
Need A Ride To Church

Fellowship Christian Church located at 746 Tazewell Pike Luttrell TN 37779 will pickup anyone in the local area needing a ride to church. Call Sam at 865-607-3741 to schedule a ride.

Worship Services

Sunday School 10:00 AM
Sunday Worship Service 11:00 A.M
Sunday Evening Service 6:30 P.M
Wednesday Service 7:00 P.M

UCBPA Meeting

Thursday, January 10, 2019 - 12:00

UCBPA meets the second Tuesday of each month for approximately one hour. Membership is $25 annually. The meeting begins at noon at Hardee's in Maynardville. Anyone interested in making Union County a better place to live, work, worship, or play may attend.

Union County Election Commission Meeting

Thursday, January 10, 2019 - 14:30
Union County Election Commission

Union County Election Commission meets on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 2:30pm in room 101 of the Union County Courthouse to conduct election business which comes before the commission pursuant to its duties listed in, but not limited to TCA $2-12-116, and to conduct any other business that may come before the election commission at that time. Union County Election Commission, 901 Main Street, Suite 108, Maynardville, TN 37807, (865) 992-3471 http://www.electionsunioncountytn.com

Obituary

Tony Lynn "Pap" Brogdon, Sr.

Tony Lynn Brogdon, Sr. “Pap”-age 58 of Knoxville passed away Monday, December 17, 2018 surrounded by members of his close family. He was a member of Stonewall Baptist Church. Tony was a dump truck driver but worked with skills second to none.

He is survived by his five children, Tony Brogdon, Jr., William Brogdon, Brandy Brogdon, Sheridan Brogdon and wife, Janet; Dixie Hopson and husband, Josh. He had many grandkids and siblings who loved him dearly and he will be missed. In lieu of flowers, the family ask for donations to be made toward Pap’s funeral service in his name.

Martha E. Berkley

Martha E. Berkley, age 92 of Knoxville passed away December 16, 2018. She was a member of Washington Pike Baptist Church. Martha retired from Knox County Circuit Court. She was a strong Christian woman, a devoted mother, and a loving wife. Preceded in death by William G. Berkley; parents Herman E. and Cassie Turner; brother H. Eugene Turner Jr.; granddaughter Jill Berry. Survived by daughter, Sharon B. Kirkland and husband Garrett; sons, Tobe Cowden and wife Chela, and Mike Berkley; 5 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; 2 great-great-grandchildren.

Goneau Gentry Heath

Goneau Gentry Heath was born August 20, 1921 and went to her heavenly home on December 13, 2018 at the age of 97. Goneau was a longtime member of North Knoxville Baptist Church. She was preceded in death by her father, Cleve Gentry and her mother, Bonnie Stooksbury Gentry; Aunt who raised her, Cora Stooksbury; husband of 51 years, K.C. Heath; Brothers, Ray and Carson Gentry; Sister, Jessie Beeler; Granddaughter, Julie Hourigan; Son-in-law, James "Jim" Bean.

Wanda Faye Henry

Wanda Faye Henry, age 81, of Corryton joined her husband in heaven on December 12, 2018 at Tennova Powell. Member of Clear Springs Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband Harvey Henry; parents Luke and Elizabeth Everett; sisters Juanita Boling, Iola Chandler, Lelia Davis; and brother David Everett.

Rev. Gains Harrell Lewis, Sr.

Rev. Gains Harrell Lewis, Sr.-age 86 of Maynardville went to his Heavenly Home Friday morning, December 14, 2018. Harrell, above everything else, loved the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour and preached and witnessed so others would do the same. He was saved and was a member of Hubbs Grove Baptist Church and attended Fellowship Christian Church. He had pastored Leatherwood Baptist Church and Head of Barren Baptist Church. He was proud to be a lifetime citizen of Maynardville, Tennessee and was well-known and had many friends and family.

Betty Sue Baumgardner

Betty Sue Baumgardner – age 77 of Washburn, passed away on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. She was a member of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Knoxville. Betty was a loving wife and enjoyed crocheting and quilting.

She is preceded in death by parents, Edgar and Dorothy Glover; sisters, Mary Ann Glover and Nell Harper. Betty is survived by loving husband of 60 years, Reverend Albert “Dick” Baumgardner; sister, Jenntte; brother, Edward Glover; and several nieces and nephews.

Jesse D. Coffman

Jesse D. “J.D.” Coffman-age 89 of Washburn passed away peacefully Thursday morning, December 13, 2018 at his home. He was a U. S. Army Veteran of the Korean War. J. D. was a member of Central View American Christian Church, Washburn.

Nicole "Nicky" Tyson

Nicole “Nicky” Tyson, age 42, passed away on December 11, 2018. She was an outgoing woman who never met a stranger. She was the happiest when surrounded by family, friends, and her fur babies, whom she was very passionate about. Nicky could light up any room she walked in and will be missed by many. She is survived by fiancé Kenny Thomas, daughter April Tyson (Boo), sons Nicholas Gene Beaver and Hunter Dylan Leon Foster, parents Janice and Jim Shipley, granddaughter Payton McKenzie Abshire, close cousin/sister Kelly Williams, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Charles "Charlie" Winton Campbell

Campbell, Charles "Charlie" Winton, age 68 of Corryton, adored daddy and the most treasured grandpa, was welcomed into the arms of his Lord and Savior on, Wednesday, December 12, 2018. Awaiting this great reunion day was Charlie's sweetheart and the love of his life, Glenda Kay Campbell, his beloved wife. Also preceding his death are; parents Henderson & Ruth Campbell and sister Katherine Ann Campbell.

Sonja Denise Brown

Sonja Denise Brown-age 53 of Luttrell passed away Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at her home. She was a member of Mynatt Road Baptist Church in Halls. Preceded in death by father, Leonard Allen Ridenour.

Survivors: husband, David Lee Brown; mother, Reba Evelyn Ridenour; brother, Ronnie Lynn Ridenour and wife, Donna; sister, Donna Michelle Gordon and husband, Gerald. Several nieces, nephews and a host of friends.

Graveside service and interment 12 Noon Saturday, December 15, 2018, Dyer Cemetery, Powder Springs. Arrangements by Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville.

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