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May 2021
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Stephanie Hollis McCaleb Elected to Fill Vacant County Commissioner Seat

On Monday night, May 10th, at the Smith County Commission meeting, a new member of the commission was elected to fill the vacant seat for District 3 (New Middleton). The seat was formerly held by Josh Brown who recently resigned. Mrs. Stephanie Hollis McCaleb was elected by the commission to fill the vacancy. She was the only individual to put her name in.

Her and her husband Marty live in the Bradford Hill community.

May 2021 Meeting of the Smith County Commission

The Smith County Commission held its March meeting on the evening of Monday, May 10th, 2021. You may see a copy of the agenda here.

You can watch the full meeting below.

Thanks to Powell & Meadows Insurance Agency for sponsoring the live broadcast of this meeting.

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Smith County Board of Commissioners meets on the second Monday of every month except December.

Typically, commission meetings are held in the General Sessions Courtroom of the Smith County Jail and Courts Facility, located at 322 Justice Drive in Carthage. During the July 2020 Meeting of the Smith County Commission, commissioners voted to hold all meetings at the Smith County Ag Center until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

All meetings are open to the public and are streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/.

May 2021 Meeting of the Gordonsville City Council

The Gordonsville City Council held its monthly meeting on Monday, May 10th, 2021.

You can watch the full council meeting below.

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Gordonsville City Council meets at 6:15 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at Gordonsville City Hall, located at 63 Main Street in Gordonsville.

All meetings are open to the public and streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/.

May 2021 Meeting of The Carthage City Council

The Carthage City Council held its monthly meeting on Thursday, May 6th, 2021, at 6:00 pm.

The meeting was held at the Smith County Chamber of Commerce because the performance hall was not adequately heated. Social distancing was practiced throughout the meeting.

Several items were discussed. Watch the full meeting below.

Thanks to Smith County Animal Clinic for sponsoring Smith County Insider’s live broadcast of this meeting.

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Carthage City Council meets at 6:00 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at Carthage City Hall, located at 314 Spring Street in Carthage, Tennessee – 37030.

All meetings are open to the public and streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/.

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Press Release: Governor Bill Lee Announces End of Statewide Public Health Orders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced the end of statewide public health orders and signed Executive Order 80 to address economic and regulatory functions. EO 80 also ends the local authority to issue mask requirements in the 89 counties directed by the state health department.

“COVID-19 is now a managed public health issue in Tennessee and no longer a statewide public health emergency,” said Gov. Lee. “As Tennesseans continue to get vaccinated, it’s time to lift remaining local restrictions, focus on economic recovery and get back to business in Tennessee.”

EO 80 contains the following provisions and is effective through May 31, 2021:

Removing Local Mask Authority

While Tennessee has never had a statewide mask mandate, EO 80 removes the local authority for county mayors in 89 of the state’s 95 counties to require face coverings throughout their jurisdictions.

Gov. Lee has requested counties with independent health departments – Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan – that have remaining business restrictions or mask requirements to lift all measures no later than the end of May.

Extending Deregulatory Provisions

EO 80 extends helpful deregulatory provisions to enable individuals, businesses and other organizations time to adapt their operations in anticipation of ending said provisions.

Maintaining Federal Funding

EO 80 maintains Tennessee’s access to federal funding, including SNAP benefits and cost reimbursements for the Tennessee National Guard’s testing and vaccination efforts.

In addition to EO 80, the following provisions are effective immediately:

Offering Walk-Up Vaccine Option

While the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be available to Tennesseans aged 16 and older by appointment, local health departments will now offer a walk-up option.

Retiring Optional Business Guidance

The Tennessee Pledge business guidelines issued at the start of COVID-19 have been officially retired.

Smith County Mayor Jeff Mason’s April 2021 County Commission Report

See below for Smith County Mayor Jeff Mason’s March 2021 County Commission Report.. You can follow Mayor Mason on Facebook and see reports on the Smith County Government’s website at https://smithcotn.com. You may also view the full April Commission meeting here

A big congratulations goes out to members of the finance department and the trustee’s office for completing and graduating the comptroller’s county finance officer training. Mrs. Sherry Davis, Mrs. Ginger Ramsey, Mrs. Amanda Dillard, and Mrs. Julie Wright graduated last week as County Financial Officers. Every member of the finance department has achieved this recognition, and now the deputy trustee has as well. We thank you for your hard work and dedication.

County Clerk Clifa Norris was able to save several hundred dollars by working with her software provider to get a new scanner purchased. I always like to brag on elected officials and department heads that save money or find better ways to serve our citizens.

This week is designated as Public Safety Telecommunications Week by Governor Lee. Thank you to all our dispatchers that work every day with our first responders to make sure our citizens are safe and the responders are as well.

American Recovery Act Funds

Estimated that we will receive just shy of 4 million dollars from the federal government through the American Recovery Act. The items it can be spent on are very limited, and complete direction has not been provided yet. The comptroller’s office is cautioning not to spend any until the details are worked out.

Governors Money

We used some of these funds to replace tires on all fire engines.

The legislature and governor are proposing another round of funding for the next budget year. We will not know officially until the legislation is passed and signed.

Baker Industrial Property

 We are still working through the best options for moving forward with the property. We have had several, as I would call them, tire-kicking inquiries lately. The real estate market is hot for land and houses, and the industrial side is heating up as well.

Salary Study

Thompson and Associates are sending me preliminary numbers this week. This being done to see where our pay rates compare to like size and neighboring counties.

Census Data

The data has been pushed back to September or October. This is going to make the process and timeline for redistricting very short in completing the process before election 22 deadlines.

Covid 19 

Active cases have been trending downward as of the last few months.

6329 total doses have been administered. 12.46% of our population has been fully vaccinated, and 19.3% have been administered at least one vaccination dose.

Availability is now for anyone over 16, and you may get vaccinated by calling the health department.

County Commission Actions

The commission approved a resolution creating the Smith County Probation and Drug Recovery Court program at the regular meeting on April 12th.  Currently, this service has been provided by the private sector. Over the past few year’s lawsuits have been filed and settled with counties across the state and their private services for various reasons. We took the initiative to start this as a county department and be proactive. It will be funded through grants and probation fees with a minimal investment of taxpayer funds. The director will report to and be under the county mayor’s office. The commission also approved the appointment of Mary Lynn Bush as the director. Mary Lynn is a Smith County resident and brings the education requirements, probation experience, and passion that fits the need for this position very well. We had several highly qualified candidates that we interviewed before selecting Mary.

Thank you once again for allowing me to serve as County Mayor of the greatest place in the world. May God bless you, and may God bless Smith County!

Road Superintendent Steve Coble Resigns After 10+ Years of Service

Steve Coble

On April 20, 2021, Steve Coble tendered his resignation as Smith County Road Superintendent to Mayor Jeff Mason. Mr. Coble was appointed by the County Commission to succeed his father in 2011 and was subsequently elected in 2012, 2016, and 2020.

During his tenure, Mr. Coble oversaw a staff of 20+ people and the 464 miles of road belonging to the county. Mr. Coble had an open-door policy for the people of Smith County and was always willing to discuss anything to do with the road system.

The County Commission will now have the task of appointing a new Road Superintendent to fill the unexpired term of Mr. Coble until a special election can be held in August 2022 for the remaining two years on the term.

The Road Superintendent position has state-mandated requirements. All interested parties will need to be approved as qualified by the Tennessee Highway Officials Certification Board before the commission may have a vote. You may read more about the state-mandated qualifications here. Due to this process, appointing a new Road Superintendent will take some time for the commission.

April 2021 Meeting of the Smith County Board of Education

The Smith County Board of Education met at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

You can watch the full meeting below.

Thanks to Judy Smith and Lacey Crockett of Blackwell Realty for sponsoring the live broadcast of this meeting.

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Smith County School Board meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 5:00 p.m. at the Smith County Board of Education, located at 126 Smith County Middle School Lane in Carthage, Tennessee.

The next school board meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.

All meetings are open to the public and streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/.

Smith County Democratic Meeting Set For Saturday, April 17th

Smith County Democrats will hear from a voter protection expert during the Saturday, April 17, meeting at 10 a.m. The meeting will be held in person at Nobel’s Restaurant, 323 North Main St. in Carthage.

Featured speaker will be noted political strategist Courtney Wheeler, who will address voter protection and suppression issues. A partner in the Bruns Wheeler Group of Nashville, Wheeler has spent the past two decades working at various stages of electoral and political campaigns in Tennessee and across the nation. She served the 2012 re-election campaign of President Barack Obama as National Voter Protection Director.

Masks and social distancing will be required at the meeting. For those who cannot attend in person, a Zoom option will be allowed for attendance. To request Zoom access or for more information, email SmithCoDemocrats@gmail.com.

April 2021 Meeting of the Smith County Commission

The Smith County Commission held its March meeting on the evening of Monday, April 12th, 2021. You may see a copy of the agenda here.

You can watch the full meeting below

Thanks to Powell & Meadows Insurance Agency for sponsoring the live broadcast of this meeting.

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Smith County Board of Commissioners meets on the second Monday of every month except December.

Typically, commission meetings are held in the General Sessions Courtroom of the Smith County Jail and Courts Facility, located at 322 Justice Drive in Carthage. During the July 2020 Meeting of the Smith County Commission, commissioners voted to hold all meetings at the Smith County Ag Center until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

All meetings are open to the public and are streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/.

April 2021 Meeting of the Gordonsville City Council

The Gordonsville City Council held its monthly meeting on Monday, April 12th, 2021.

You can watch the full council meeting below.

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Gordonsville City Council meets at 6:15 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at Gordonsville City Hall, located at 63 Main Street in Gordonsville.

All meetings are open to the public and streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/.

Councilman Ebel Removed from April Carthage City Council Meeting

Town of Carthage Councilman Cole Ebel was removed during the most recent Carthage City Council Meeting on April 1, 2021 after being deemed to be out-of-order.

During the opening of the meeting, Councilman Steve Babcock made a motion “to limit discussion on each agenda item to two minutes per councilman per agenda item.” Councilwoman Barbara Kannapel seconded this motion. Councilman Ebel made the only discussion on the motion. The council voted 5-1 to pass the motion, with Councilman Ebel being the lone no vote.

During the Unfinished Business portion of the meeting, Councilman Ebel motioned to pass Item #1 Building Inspection Fees Resolution that would eliminate building inspection fees in the city. This motion did not receive a second, so the meeting continued to the next item.

Councilman Ebel then made a motion to pass Item #2 2A Sanctuary City Resolution. Councilman Ebel’s motion included reading the resolution. After just under two minutes elapsed of Councilman Ebel speaking, Mayor Sarah Marie Smith ruled Councilman Ebel over his time limit and ruled his action Out-of-Order. Councilman Ebel refuted this, and Mayor Smith and Councilman Ebel continued back and forth for about 20 seconds before Councilwoman Barbara Kannapel made a recommendation “for the officer to remove this person who has been asked to stop and has been out-of-order.” City Attorney Todd Moore then asked Councilman Ebel to make a motion only and not read the entire resolution per previous precedent. Councilman Ebel asked if he had gone over his time limit and was ruled to have been over. Councilman Ebel made a motion, but it failed due to a lack of a second.

Councilman Ebel then attempted to make a motion to pass Item #3 Property Tax Resolution. After Councilman Ebel had spoken for approximately sixteen seconds, Mayor Smith stated that the motion had been made and the council could read the resolution themselves. Councilman Ebel stated that he still had time to read his motion and would like to do so. During a back and forth between the councilman and mayor, all other members of the council began to stand up and/or leave. Councilwoman Kannapel stated that “this is not a civil meeting, so either the person who is out-of-order needs to be removed or the council needs to leave.”

Mayor Smith then requested Police Chief Brit Davis to remove Councilman Ebel. The councilman made a few remarks and left the meeting without incident, and the council meeting continued without consideration of the Property Tax Resolution.

The Town of Carthage has formally adopted Robert’s Rules of Order for parliamentary procedure; however, no motion or vote of removal of the councilman was put forth by the council. The councilman’s removal from the meeting does not appear to have been done correctly as Robert’s Rules of Order states a member of the assembly may only be removed by a vote of the assembly.

In an email to the mayor and council on Tuesday April 6th, City Attorney Todd Moore stated that he believed Mayor Smith was within her authority to remove Councilman Ebel during the meeting. He also stated that he “researched Roberts’ Rules and it is my opinion that Cole should not have been asked to leave the meeting without a vote by the council.” Attorney Moore also recommended the council address this issue and allow Councilman Ebel to present his resolutions for consideration during its next meeting.

You can watch the full meeting below.

April 2021 Meeting of the Carthage City Council

The Carthage City Council held its monthly meeting on Thursday, April 1, 2021, at 6:00 pm.

The meeting was held at the Smith County Chamber of Commerce because the performance hall was not adequately heated. Social distancing was practiced throughout the meeting.

Watch the full meeting below.

Thanks to Smith County Animal Clinic for sponsoring Smith County Insider’s live broadcast of this meeting.

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Carthage City Council meets at 6:00 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at Carthage City Hall, located at 314 Spring Street in Carthage, Tennessee – 37030.

All meetings are open to the public and streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/.

Press Release: Representative John Rose Reveals Plans for 117th Congress

by John Rose, U.S. Representative – Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District

The 117th Congress is just beginning, and it is my sincere honor to serve a second term as your U.S. Representative for the Sixth Congressional District. As a lifelong Tennessean, it is a privilege to be your voice in Washington and to fight for Tennessee values every day. This position is my first elected office; I am not a career politician and have no intention of acting like one. This Congress, I will continue putting Tennesseans first by working to fix our broken budget system in Washington, put us back on the road to economic recovery, expand broadband in rural areas, sharpen the focus on election integrity, protect community pharmacies, and act as your conservative voice as I cast my vote. As an eighth-generation farmer, I am not afraid of hard work – and I think it’s time the 117th Congress gets down to business by doing the work of the American people. 

House Democrats entered the new Congress with a razor thin majority due to House Republicans’ significant gains in the 2020 elections. The Democrats’ slim majority brings with it some possibilities for House Republicans to pass some commonsense legislation by enlisting five or six moderate Democrats to join us in a bipartisan effort. Our nation cannot afford to turn back the progress of the last four years. From passing historic tax cuts for Americans to the signing of the USMCA, which bolstered freer markets, fairer trade, and strengthened economic growth—under the leadership of President Trump and his Administration, promises made were promises kept. 

As we continue to build on that progress, we must be mindful that our national debt has loomed to just over $28 trillion. The debt and deficit not only hurt our economy, but also affect our national security and the economic security of future generations. I hear concerns from business owners and constituents about the insufficiency of Congress to get its fiscal house in order. As your representative in Washington, I will consistently support efforts to cut spending, root out waste, and balance the federal budget. 

Recovering from the coronavirus pandemic and reopening our economy remains a top priority. As a small business owner and entrepreneur, I understand what small businesses need to be successful – and also what will stifle them. I will continue fighting for Main Street this Congress by trying to repeal draconian lockdowns across the country and getting timely, targeted, and temporary COVID-19 relief to businesses and families that are struggling. Additionally, a full economic reopening will not be possible without adequate testing and vaccine distribution – a task I believe should be a main focus these next few months. 

The pandemic has further highlighted the lack of internet access for rural Americans. I will be working this Congress to close the digital divide in our rural communities. As long as those in more urban areas have access to basic technological resources that others in rural areas do not, a substantial percentage of our population is at risk of falling behind. Reliable high-speed internet connectivity is critical to economic development, education, quality telemedicine, and the ability of state and local officials to communicate with their constituencies—this will be one of my top priorities.

I will also continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect our community pharmacies. Last year,I led the effort to keep our community pharmacies open by cracking down on harmful Big Pharma practices that take advantage of these small businesses. I will continue to stand up for our local pharmacies and advocate for those who feel their needs are being ignored.

Finally, I pledge to be your conservative voice in Washington. I will be working to secure our borders, protect life, support our men and women in uniform, and as a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, I will be fighting to preserve and protect our Second Amendment rights. 

With the input of Tennesseans as my continued guide, I look forward to working hard this session to make progress on these and other issues important to the Sixth District. There remains no better place to get national direction than here in Tennessee where commonsense prevails. Thank you to the many Tennesseans who continue to share your thoughtful insights with me on the issues before Congress.