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Latest list of candidates for May 3, 2022 primary; Petitions available until February 17

Qualifying petitions were made available beginning December 20, 2021, with a deadline to return them by Noon, February 17, 2022. Candidates must declare whether they will participate in the Republican or Democratic primary in May or qualify as an independent candidate. The winners of the primaries will then appear on the general election ballot on August 4, 2022. Independent candidates will not appear on the May primary ballots and only appear on the general election ballot. All candidates must qualify by Noon on February 17, 2022, regardless of participating in a primary or not.

In addition to the county primaries on May 3, the primaries for the elected offices for the 15th Judicial District will also be held. Municipal and state elections are slated to occur later in 2022.  Be sure to follow Smith County Insider for up-to-date coverage of the 2022 election cycle.

The following is a list of candidates that have picked up petitions as of January 18, 2022:

OfficeCandidatePartyDate IssuedDate Filed
CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE – DIVISION IClara ByrdRepublican1/11/22
CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE – DIVISION IIMichael CollinsRepublican12/20/2112/20/21
CHANCELLORCK SmithRepublican1/11/22
CRIMINAL COURTBrody KaneRepublican12/27/21
DISTRICT ATTORNEY
PUBLIC DEFENDERShelley Thompson GardnerRepublican12/28/21
COUNTY MAYORRicky SlackRepublican1/14/22
COUNTY COMMISSION – District 1
(Defeated)
Chris Nixon
Helen Vose
Republican
Independent
1/6/22
12/20/21

COUNTY COMMISSION – District 2
(Tanglewood)
Greta KirbyDemocratic12/21/211/18/22
COUNTY COMMISSION – District 3
(New Middleton)
COUNTY COMMISSION – District 4
(Rock City)
James W. SmithIndependent 12/20/21
COUNTY COMMISSION – District 5
(Gordonsville)
Linda Nixon
Eddie Stout
Republican
Republican
12/20/21
12/20/21

1/14/22
COUNTY COMMISSION – District 6
(Carthage)
Casey ElrodIndependent 12/30/21
COUNTY COMMISSION – District 7
(South Carthage)
Tommy Bane
Junior Fields
Connor D. McDonald
Republican
Republican
Republican
1/5/22
12/21/21
1/6/22

1/5/22
COUNTY COMMISSION – District 8
(Elmwood)
Tim BellarIndependent 12/20/21
TRUSTEERonnie Lankford
Julie Wright
Independent
Republican
1/12/22
12/20/21

12/28/21
GENERAL SESSIONS JUDGEBranden BellarIndependent 12/28/21
SHERIFFSteve Hopper
Scott Moore
Republican
Republican
12/20/21
12/20/21
1/14/22
1/4/22
CIRCUIT COURT CLERK
COUNTY CLERK
REGISTER OF DEEDS
ROAD SUPERINTENDENT
SCHOOL BOARD – District 3
(New Middleton)
Marty McCaleb
Stephanie Winfree
Republican
Independent
1/11/22
12/20/21

SCHOOL BOARD – District 4
(Rock City)
Joe TaylorRepublican1/4/22
SCHOOL BOARD – District 6
(Carthage)
Barbara Kannapel
Ricky Shoulders
Republican
Republican
1/5/22
12/28/21

SCHOOL BOARD – District 8
(Elmwood)
Scotty LewisRepublican12/28/21

Petitions for County Elections Now Available; Primaries Added for School Board

More changes are coming to the local county elections for Smith County Offices next year, with the addition of the school board elections to the Republican and Democratic primaries scheduled for May 3, 2021. Before the current calls for primaries, all candidates for county offices qualified and ran as an independent candidate. Many have questioned the benefit and necessity of having primaries for local offices. The added primaries will cost the county additional money, and all elected officials have a responsibility to fulfill their duties to all residents regardless of political affiliation.

Qualifying petitions were made available beginning December 20, 2021, with a deadline to return them by Noon, February 17, 2022. Candidates must declare whether they will participate in the Republican or Democratic primary in May or qualify as an independent candidate. The winners of the primaries will then appear on the general election ballot on August 4, 2022. Independent candidates will not appear on the May primary ballots and only appear on the general election ballot. All candidates must qualify by Noon on February 17, 2022, regardless of participating in a primary or not.

In addition to the county primaries on May 3, the primaries for the elected offices for the 15th Judicial District will also be held. Municipal and state elections are slated to occur later in 2022.  Be sure to follow Smith County Insider for up-to-date coverage of the 2022 election cycle.

The following county offices will be on the May 3, 2022, Primary Ballot:

  • County Mayor (Four Year Term)
  • County Commission (Four Year Term) – All Districts (3 from each district)
  • Trustee (Four Year Term)
  • General Sessions Judge (Eight-Year Term)
  • Sheriff (Four Year Term) – Peace Officers Standards & Training filing due February 3, 2022
  • Circuit Court Clerk (Four Year Term)
  • County Clerk (Four Year Term)
  • Register of Deeds (Four Year Term)
  • Road Superintendent (To fill an unexpired term for two years) – TN Highway Officials Certification filing due February 3, 2022
  • School Board (Four Year Term)
    • District 3 (New Middleton)
    • District 4 (Rock City)
    • District 6 (Carthage)
    • District 8 (Elmwood)

The following offices for the 15th Judicial District will be on the May 3, 2022, Primary Ballot:

  • Circuit Court Judge Division I (Eight-Year Term)
  • Circuit Court Judge Division II (Eight-Year Term)
  • Chancellor (Eight-Year Term)
  • Criminal Court Judge (Eight-Year Term)
  • District Attorney General (Eight-Year Term)
  • Public Defender (Eight-Year Term)

December 2021 Meeting of the Carthage City Council

The Carthage City Council held its monthly meeting as well as a special called meeting on Thursday, December 2nd, 2021, at 5:00 and 6:00 pm.

Several items were discussed. Watch both meetings 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/.

Kemp resigns, Barrett appointed as interim Road Superintendent

Mickey Barrett, Interim Smith County Road Superintendent

On Thursday, November 18, Smith County Road Superintendent, Michael Kemp resigned from his position. Kemp was recently appointed to the position on August 9, 2021 following the resignation of Steve Coble in April of 2021.

In Kemp’s resignation letter, he stated:

“After careful consideration must resign due to unforeseeable personal and health problems, caused by unreasonable levels of stress. I feel I can no longer perform the duties of my position in an acceptable manner. My last day will be Thursday, November 18. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. I will be helping to make a smooth transition to my successor. Who I strongly believe will continue to move the department in the right direction.”

Mickey Barrett has been appointed as interim road superintendent to fill Kemp’s vacant seat. Barrett has been employed at the Smith County Highway Department since 1996 and currently serves as foreman.

November 2021 Meeting and Work Session of the Smith County Board of Education

On Tuesday, November 16, 2021, the Smith County Board of Education met for their regularly stated meeting at 5:00pm. Before for the meeting began, a work session was held. The topics for the work session were Bi-Polar Ionization Project, One-Time COVID-19 Appreciation Bonus Options COVID-19 Leave, and Advertising on buses.

You can watch the work session and 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.

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

Smith County Democrats Meeting set for November 20, 2021

The Smith County Democrats plan to meet on November 20th at Nobel’s Restaurant on Main Street in Carthage. A Zoom option will be available for those who are unable to join in person. Reach out to SmithCoDemocrats@gmail.com for more information and to register for the Zoom option.

Proclamation honoring Steve Coble presented at the November Commission Meeting

On Monday night, November 8, at the meeting of the Smith County Commission, a state proclamation was presented to the late Steve Coble’s family and to the Smith County Highway Department in his memory. Senator Mark Pody and Representative Terri Lynn Weaver presented the proclamation during the meeting.

Below is a copy of the proclamation:


WHEREAS, we were greatly saddened to learn of the untimely passing of Steve Edward Coble of Gordonsville; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Coble was an exemplary public servant and consummate professional, who worked assiduously to improve the quality of life for his fellow citizens in numerous capacities: and

WHERERAS, Steve Coble was born in Nashville on December 1. 1966. to Ralph Edward Coble and Hazel Mozel Lawrence Coble; and

WHEREAS. He was raised in the Brush Creek community of Smith County and graduated from Gordonsville High School in 1986: and

WHEREAS, Mr. Coble succeeded his late Father as Smith County Road Superintendent in 2011 and was elected to the office of Road Superintendent for Smith County in 2012: and

WHEREAS, he was dedicated to the highway system of Smith County, Steve Coble subsequently won reelection in 2016 and 2020, having earned the confidence of his fellow citizens; and

WHEREAS, due to severe injuries he received from a fall at his home in September 2020, Mr. Coble resigned from his position on April 19, 2021: and

WHEREAS. Steve Coble was an active member of Brush Creek Baptist Church where he served faithfully for many years; and

WHEREAS. he was also member of the New Middleton Masonic Lodge #249: and

WHEREAS, many Smith County citizens enjoyed and fondly remember the Country ham breakfasts the Coble family would provide at the highway department tor residents just before Christmas each year; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Coble is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Brittany and Barry West; his son, Brett Coble, and Nikki Lewis; his three grandchildren, Noah Smith, Lauren Potts, and Blaine West; and his stepchildren, Mitch Robertson and wife, and Matthew Robertson: and

WHEREAS. Steve Coble leaves behind an indelible legacy of integrity and probity in public life, compassion and loyalty in private life, and diligence and dedication in all his chosen endeavors; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting that we should remember the bountiful life of this exceptionaL public servant and therefore Randy McNally, Speaker of the Senate of the One Hundred Twelfth General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, in conjunction with the undersigned, do hereby proclaim that we honor the memory of Steve Edward Coble, reflecting fondly upon his impeccable character, his many contributions to the people of Tennessee, and his stalwart commitment to living the examined life with courage and conviction. We express our sympathy and extend our condolences to the family of Mr. Coble.

Proclaimed in Nashville, Tennessee, on this the 22nd day of September 2021.

November 2021 Meeting of the Carthage City Council

The Carthage City Council held its monthly meeting on Thursday, November 4th, 2021, at 6:00 pm.

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/.

Julie Wright announces candidacy for Smith County Trustee Election

Julie Wright

To All the Residents of Smith County: My name is Julie Wright and I am running for the office of Smith County Trustee. I have been blessed to live in Smith County my whole life. I am the daughter of Horace Hale and Elaine Wright of Carthage. I have two children, Caleb, who is a junior at MTSU, and Jenna, who is a junior at SCHS. I am a member of the Carthage Church of Christ. I graduated from Smith County High School. I hold an Associate’s Degree and in the Spring I will graduate with Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. I also completed classes though the State of Tennessee and became a Certified County Financial Officer. I am a Deputy Trustee for the Honorable Lee Ann Williams who will be retiring at the end of her term. I have the experience and knowledge that is needed to run this office. I would be humbled and honored by your vote. 

From the Desk of Smith County Mayor Jeff Mason; Convenience sites paving

I am going to clarify some confusion. Commissioners, the landfill, the Highway Dept. and myself have received call from citizen’s asking why we would pave convenience sites and not roads. The simplest answer is Solid Waste is paying for the convenience site paving. Solid Waste/Landfill generates their own money from fee’s charged to other governments and private business to dump trash in the Smith County Landfill. There are no Smith County Tax dollars going into the Solid Waste Fund. We have the money in that fund and would like to create a better experience for you when dumping your trash for free at the convenience sites. I will explain more in depth below if you would like to take the time to read. If not please know this is separate money that cannot be spent on roads or other government functions outside of trash disposal at convenience sites or operation of the landfill.

The Landfill and solid waste department are set up in what is called an enterprise fund. Enterprise Funds are used to account for operations that are financed and operated in a manner like private business enterprises–where the intent of the governing body is that the costs (expenses, including depreciation) of providing goods or services to the public on a continuing basis be financed or recovered primarily through user charges. The convenience sites are fully funded by the tipping fees collected at the Smith County Landfill. NO tax dollars go into solid waste.Smith County residents can use the convenience sites as much as needed at no cost to them. Other counties limit trips or charge a fee to dispose of trash. We do not.

The downside to this is that no moneys collected for tipping fees may be used in the operation of the general government. The landfill funds cannot be used to pave county roads. The solid waste fund pays for the operation of the landfill and convenience sites. It pays for the building of new cells and the closing of old cells. It pays for the equipment to run the landfill and convenience sites.

When I took office in 2018 there had been talk of paving or tarring and chipping convenience sites for years. We looked very hard at how to get that project done. With a new cell being built and our debt service for equipment we did not have the funds to get this done. We finished the new cell this past spring. There had already been borrowed 2.8 million dollars to build a cell in the fund when I came into office. Once all was said and done the cost to build was over 5 million dollars to complete. We were able to finish the cell with cash from the fund and did not borrow another penny. The high cost was due to some engineering problems that we inherited and the building of this cell to support future cells design and lower their cost to build and operate. We also were able to pay off half the debt we were in when we came into office. The ending balance for 20-21 was just shy of 2 million dollars in the bank.

We were able to increase revenues by raising tipping fees and renegotiating contracts with other local county governments and raising our tipping fees at the gate for other haulers. We have also been able to save money by partnering with private business for them to provide services such as brush disposal, tire disposal and the pulling of boxes at convenience sites on the weekends for reduced contracted tipping fees.

I say all of that to say this. We put money aside and bid out the paving of our convenience sites in this year’s budget. Tiff Arnold Paving was the low bidder and has begun paving convenience sites across the county. This I hope will make your experience better when disposing of your trash. Muddy shoes and dirty cars I hope will soon be  not caused by just taking your trash off.

There is probably not one person in this county that truly wants to be in the landfill business. I know I don’t.  We are in the business and have been since 1989 I believe. So, if we can generate revenue to pay for operation, cell building, convenience sites and make it a better experience and at no cost to residents then that is what we will do. I have been approached about selling the landfill by private waste companies. I do not want to do that. We lose control when that happens. If Smith County is going to have a landfill, then Smith County needs to run that landfill.

Believe me if there was a way, I would shift money to the road department to fix our county roads.

I hope this helps explain to those who may not know why we would pave convenience sites and not county roads. Please call me at 615-735-2294 or email me at jmason@smithcountytn.govwith any other questions.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as mayor of the greatest county in the world!

Bradley West announces candidacy for Upper Cumberland Board of Directors

I, Bradley West, would like to announce my candidacy for Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation Board of Directors for District 1. 

I, along with my wife, Amber, and our two children, Mattie and Rob, have always called Smith County home. Both of our families are deeply rooted in the Riddleton Community.  

My parents, David (Brad) and Ann Hood West, instilled in me the value of hard work and service to our community. My longtime desire to serve on the UCEMC Board of Directors originated from my father’s successful career at Upper Cumberland Electric. 

A lifetime of working with the public has given me the opportunity to develop relationships with many wonderful people over the UCEMC area. As a teenager I started my work journey as an employee of Smith County Commission Company, the stock yard in Carthage, working for my wife’s grandparents, Billy and Grace Gregory. I graduated from Smith County High School and Tennessee College of Applied Technology. My work careers at Lee Company, Dekalb Telephone Cooperative and Farm Bureau of Tennessee taught me many valuable skills which lead me to start my own business, West Construction. We do residential and small business construction serving Middle Tennessee.       

I have a very personal connection to UCEMC as it provided for my family as a child. My father, David (Brad) West, and my mother-in-law, Melissa Gregory, both worked at and retired from UCEMC. My plan for UCEMC is very simple-to make decisions that I feel are best for the employees, members, and the cooperative.  

I respectfully ask for your vote and support for UCEMC Board of Directors for District 1. Please cast your vote on August 27 & 28 in Carthage, Cookeville, Gainesboro or Livingston. 

UCEMC Members to choose three directors in election set for this weekend – August 27, 28

Carthage, TN. One of the guiding principles of an electric cooperative is that it is a democratic organization controlled by its members who actively participate. Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation is counting on eligible members to get out and vote to fill the seats of three board members whose terms are expiring.

Before UCEMC holds the in-person 83rd Annual Meeting of the Members on September 11, voters must fill these impending vacancies on the Cooperative’s Board of Directors. The Board comprises nine members, and each year, at least three seats are up for election on a rotational basis.

The terms of incumbent directors are expiring in District One, serving DeKalb, Macon, Smith, and Wilson counties, District Two, serving Putnam and White counties, and in District Three serving Clay, Fentress, Overton, and Pickett counties. 

Qualifying candidates had a deadline of June 13 to file their petitions with UCEMC’s General Manager, Jennifer Brogdon, or Board secretary Alan Pippin. UCEMC has a Credentials Committee appointed and acting under the Cooperative’s Bylaws to keep this process separate from the Board of Directors. The Credentials Committee worked independently of the Board and has determined the eligibility of each petitioner to become a qualified candidate.

Candidates Joey Harper and Bradley West are running to represent District 1 on the Board. Mike Bowman is running against the incumbent, Rony Myers in District 2, and James F. Scarlett and Tim Sells seek election to represent District 3.

Members may cast their ballots at any of the cooperative’s district offices listed below, but due to ongoing construction at the Carthage District 1 office, members will vote at the UCEMC Corporate office at 907 Main Street North in Carthage this year.  “We’re doing everything we can to get the word out about the change in Carthage’s voting location this year,” says UCEMC General Manager and CEO Jennifer Brogdon. ”We hope to see you cast your ballot at the Main Street Corporate office.”

  The polls listed below are open Friday, August 27, and Saturday, August 28, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

*Carthage – UCEMC Corporate office – 907 Main Street N., Carthage.

Cookeville – 1794 West Broad Street, Cookeville.

Livingston – 320 Celina Highway, Livingston.

Gainesboro – 1085 North Grundy Quarles Highway, Gainesboro.

UCEMC Directorate Election set for August 27-28

UCEMC’s Directorate Election is set for Friday, August 27, 2021 and Saturday August 28, 2021.

Polls will be open between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. at all polling locations. PLEASE NOTE: Change in District 1 polling location.

DistrictConsisting of these counties:Polling Location
1Smith, DeKalb, Wilson and Macon907 Main St. N., Carthage *NEW*
2Putnam and White1794 West Broad St., Cookeville
3Overton, Clay, Fentress and Pickett320 Celina Hwy., Livingston
4Jackson1085 N. Grundy Quarles Hwy., Gainesboro
DistrictCandidateNumber of Directors to be elected/re-elected:
1Joey Harper
Bradely West
One director will be elected. Vote for one.
2Mike Bowman
Rony Myers
One director will be elected or re-elected. Vote for one.
3James F. Scarlett
Tim Sells
One director will be elected. Vote for one.

Voting Rules and Bylaw Reference

  1. ONE vote regardless of number of individual memberships. Section 3.05 of the Bylaws.
  2. Husband and wife are joint members – only one may vote and if they disagree they cannot split their vote. Section 1.04 (b) of the Bylaws.

3. Unincorporated business owners may not vote if he/she has individual memberships they are voting. Sections 3.05 and 4.08 of the Bylaws. Voting Rules and Bylaw Reference

4. Corporations have one vote only, regardless of number of memberships, and persons voting corporate memberships should have proper identification or credentials showing his/her right to vote the membership. Section 3.05 of the Bylaws.

Referenceand Bylaw Reference
5. Unincorporated associations (such as churches) may have one vote, however, only upon presentation of the person desiring to vote the

membership of proper evidence of his/her right to vote which should be in writing for clarity. The fact that a pastor, board member, or church

member shows up and says they can vote the membership is not sufficient absent other proof. Section 3.05 of the Bylaws.

  1. No member may vote who has been suspended or terminated. Sections 2.01, 2.02, and 2.07 of the Bylaws.
  2. If a member is served by the cooperative at two or more premises in two or more districts, he/she shall be entitled to vote only his/her residential membership at any one of the cooperative’s election precincts. Section 4.08 of the Bylaws.
  3. It is the duty and legal obligation of the election supervisors to make decisions in accordance with Section 4.12 of the Bylaws.
  4. Voting rights are set out in Sections 3.05 and 4.08 of the Bylaws. (Reference Section 4.11).
  5. Proxy voting by Power of Attorney or otherwise by members who are natural persons is not permitted. Section 3.05 of the Bylaws. NOTE: Ref. 6 above: Suspension of membership is defined in Bylaws as failure to pay any amounts due the cooperative within the time limit prescribed for payment or other non-compliance with membership obligations. For the purposes of this election, the memberships of members having unpaid bills due on or before August 17, 2021, will be in suspension on Election Day. OFFICES WILL NOT BE OPEN FOR BILL PAYMENTS ON SATURDAY, AUGUST 28, 2021. Members with questions about the Directorate Election should ask their local UCEMC office prior to Election Day or election supervisors on Election Day. Copies of Bylaws are available at all UCEMC offices or at ucemc.com.

EEO Employer/Vet/Disability

Federal Lawsuits Filed Against Former Private Probation and County for “Extortion Scheme”

Two different lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee claim that Lynn Shrum and Jenna Meness, former Smith County Misdemeanor Probation operators, and Smith County ran an “extortion scheme.”

Smith County Misdemeanor Probation was a private company contracted to oversee all misdemeanor probation for Smith County from 1999 until April of this year. The county ended its contract relationship with them and established its own probation department to directly oversee misdemeanor probation services at the April County Commission meeting and no longer uses a private company for probation services.

Smith County Misdemeanor Probation operated under a user-funded probation model, so their revenue was from the fees and surcharges paid by the probationers they supervised.

Two separate defendants have filed lawsuits with similar allegations. In one case, Lynn Walker alleges that she had to walk ten miles each way to attend her weekly probation meetings after being denied a request for an accommodation to have bi-weekly meetings. She also alleges she was forced to extend her supervised probation “under the threat of imprisonment” for nonpayment of court costs even though only “willful nonpayment can constitute a violation of probation” in the state of Tennessee. Walker was later incarcerated for a total of 94 days during the extended probation. In January 2020, General Sessions Judge Branden Bellar dismissed all charges against her and found that Smith County Misdemeanor Probation’s probation extension was illegal.

In the other lawsuit, Christopher Beale alleges that he could not make payments due to having no money on multiple occasions, was threatened with a violation of probation warrant without legal counsel or appearing before a judge. Under these threats, he signed a probation extension already pre-signed by the General Sessions Judge Michael Collins. Probation officer Jenna Meness is alleged to have then held the extension without filing it to continue to use it to threaten Beale. Beale was also incarcerated for three months during the probation extension.

Another allegation, in addition to the threats of imprisonment and forced extension of probation that led to more fees for Smith County Misdemeanor Probation, is that they were provided with stacks of blank, pre-signed violation of probation warrants from the General Sessions Judge. This allowed the probation company to execute arrest warrants and incarcerate probationers without a judge determining whether probable cause existed for the arrest. While the lawsuit does not name the General Sessions Judge, the timeframe for the actions would have fallen under previous General Sessions Judge Michael Collins.

Both lawsuits state the “extortion scheme constitutes a systemic violation of constitutional rights calculated to generate profits for the company and provide the payment of court debts to the County.”