Union County Commission

Commission: no tax increase; 6% raise for most employees

Unanimous vote on budget resolution with no tax increase.

The Union County Commission approved all documents relating to the FY25 Budget unanimously, except for one negative vote by 3rd District Commissioner Kenny Moore on the Non-Profit Budget. The tax rate will remain the same.
The sheriff’s department will get a step increase of two percent. as will EMS. Other county employees will receive a six percent raise which moved them three steps on the pay scale.

Vice Mayor Sidney Jessee chaired May County Commission

Sidney Jessee Jr. presided over the May Union County Commission meeting because Mayor Bailey was on vacation. The meeting got a late start due to the lengthy budget committee meeting. The budget committee approved and recommended all budgets to the commission except the County FY25 General Fund 101. A vote to recommend Fund 101 failed 2 to 6 with Chairperson Cheryl Walker and Commissioner Gerald Simmons supplying the only affirmative votes.

Commission needs private act to increase building fees

In the April 22 meeting Union County Commission learned that a private act would be needed to increase building permit fees. Recently the budget committee recommended raising the fees, but further investigation of the process found that when commission raised the cost of a building permit, it violated its own private act.

Commission acts on two community center properties

A community building and convenience center became one step closer to reality for Braden and Big Ridge during the Union County Commission March meeting. Commissioners Greg Dyer (5th District) and Dawn Flatford (4th district) have spent many months searching for suitable property. Two community landowners have risen to the challenge and offered land at reasonable prices. Danny Kilgore in Braden is willing to sell a nearly 2-acre property for $30,000. The property will need clearing, a well, and septic.

Commission updated on grants, jail, 911, Rush Strong, pantry

Mayor addresses Commission

Mayor Jason Bailey reads the updated information on several grants, both active and potential, during the February Union County Commission Meeting

At the February 24 Union County Commission Meeting, Mayor Jason Bailey explained that the Healthy Built Environment Grant through the Tennessee Department of Health has increased its funding to $100,000 and can be used to build multi-purpose sports fields. These fields could increase the opportunities for recreation on property at the back of Wilson Park.

Mayor breaks tie, jail cameras get funding

Vote on cameras for jail

The vote on the new camera system for the current jail.

The new year brought Mayor Bailey’s first tiebreaker of his tenure at the Union County Commission meeting last month.
Sheriff Billy Breeding requested a mid-year budget amendment of new money to fund a correctional grade camera system. Prior to the commission meeting, the sheriff brought his proposal to the budget committee where it did not receive any action, therefore the proposal could be brought to the commission without a recommendation.

Commission and jail committee review jail needs assessment

Jim Hart speaks to jail committee and commission on jail needs assessment.

Jim Hart, Interim Manager and Jail Management Consultant for County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS), reviewed the Union County Jail Needs Assessment for the joint meeting of the UC Jail Committee and the UC Commission on Thursday, February 1.
Hart noted several challenges in the current jail. The jail is an aging facility that regularly exceeds its maximum capacity of 76 inmates. He explained that the jail is considered overcrowded at 85% capacity or 64 inmates.

Nearly $75M handled perfectly says Mayor Bailey

Missy Brown, Crystal Flatford, Ashley Webb and the entire Union County Finance Department received recognition for a perfect county audit.

Mayor Jason Bailey recognized the Union County Finance Department for “doing such an awesome job with Union County finances and having a perfect audit” with no findings in any department or fee office of Union County government at the regular Union County Commission Meeting on November 27. He recognized finance department employees for their careful handling of nearly $75M. He also commended the expertise of the elected officials who handle funds.

Commission to pay for veteran plaques, wheel tax increases

At the regular October meeting, Union County Commission voted to set aside $3,000 annually to fund the plaques on the wall at Veteran’s Place. Commissioner Sidney Jessee, Jr. stated that the idea had come from a 2nd district citizen who said that paying for the plaques was the right thing to do for our veterans who have given us so much.
The money will purchase approximately 30 plaques a year on a first come, first served basis.

Commission re-elects Bailey, Jessee, takes aim at RV living, early voting

Mayor Jason Bailey shares his report with commissioners.

Mayor Jason Bailey was re-elected by acclamation to be the chairman of the Union County Commission at the regular meeting on September 25.
Commissioner Sidney Jessee Jr., who represents District 2, was also re-elected to serve as vice chairman. Although absent from the meeting,

Commission approves middle school bond issue

At the regular Union County Commission meeting in July, commissioners voted on a resolution to issue bonds to fund the new middle school.
Scott Gibson from Cumberland Securities and the county financial advisor explained the procedure. The bond resolution is for $26,250,000.
The bonds will be issued in three phases: $10M in 2023, $10M in 2024, and the balance of $6.25M in 2025. The payment is for 20 years with a four percent interest rate.

Commission sets tax rate at 1.8999, funds new middle school

In the June 26th meeting the Union County County Commission funded all budgets and set the tax rate at 1.8999. The EMS increases, the solid waste contract, the general fund, and the building of a new middle school were all in the tax levy for FY 24. The compromise took at least 8 votes. Votes were taken on proposals that spanned from 1.8990 to 1,9310. The vote was never tied so Mayor Bailey was not able to vote.

Budget committee reports to commissioners

A preliminary drawing for a 175 bed jail in Maynardville Tennessee that would demolish the Carr House and extend to Mulberry Street.

Cheryl Walker, budget committee chairperson, explained the actions of the budget committee meetings at the May Union County Commission meeting. The budget committee had taken several votes on several parts of the budget: Development (Planning Commission), County Clerk, Sheriff, Special Patrols, Jail (current facility), Fire Protection, Rescue Squad, Libraries, EMS, Debt Service and General Capital Projects; the budget committee did recommend several cuts to the General Fund 101 Budget, but after several tie votes was bringing no recommendations for the other parts.

Commission dashes dreams of UC Sports Complex

Vote by County Commissioners on sending back the Parks and Recreation Grant to the state. A "Yes" vote kills the sports complex by returning the grant. A "No" vote is to keep the grant and build the sports complex.

At its March regular meeting, Union County Commission voted to return the Parks and Recreation Grant (PGR) that would have funded the Union County Sports Complex.
The PRG would have provided soccer and football fields in Phase 1 and baseball and softball fields in Phase 2 for Union County youth.
Concession stands, lighting and equipment, as well as site development, were included in the $1.2M initial grant that most likely would have ensured the awarding of the phase 2 grant when phase 1 was completed.

Union County on track to no debt

Finance Director Missy Brown listens to
commissioners discuss new budget
requests to answer questions on cost.
In the background is Charlie Hamilton,
the newest member of the Ethics

By Marilyn Toppins
At the January Union County Commission meeting, Finance Director Melissa Brown told commissioners that Union County had no debt and repeated the statement three times at Union County Mayor Jason Bailey’s request. However, she explained that the Union County School Board still owes for the School Energy Saving Program and the wheel tax will be paying for the construction of Paulette Elementary through possibly 2028.

Commission resolves concerns over employee pay

The Union County Commission faced several agenda items concerning pay issues at its November meeting. The first item to be resolved involved confusion regarding a motion in the minutes of the October 24 meeting to distribute bonus pay to essential workers with funds from the Capital Projects Budget. The commission was unaware of a law that passed in 2016 that reduced the majority vote requirement if a member had a statutory conflict.

Highlights of September and October commission meetings

County Mayor Jason Bailey reports on the ARPA grant allocation to commission.

Historic Union County went to press before the Union County commission meeting in September. Since the August meeting had no quorum, the business covered two agendas.
County Mayor Jason Bailey was elected chairman and Sidney Jessee Jr. from Luttrell District 2 was elected vice chairman. The mayor appointed new committees and reported that several grants were ready to have contracts signed.

Eight absent at August meeting: Commission unable to perform duties

Commissioners ask Dr. James Carter about plans for the middle school and the colleges.

Only eight of the 16 commissioners attended the Union County Commission meeting on August 22. All in attendance will serve another four years except Commissioner Janet Holloway, who ended her term with this meeting. But the absence of the other commissioners who lost their seats but were still acting commissioners caused the county business to be postponed until September. Nine members present are needed for a quorum to take any action.