BY DAVID FISHER
DRESDEN (January 14) — During recent meetings, members of the Weakley County Commission’s Finance, Ways and Means Committee, and Health, Education and Economic Development (HEED) Committee approved several resolutions budgeting grant funding provided by the CARES Act to cover additional expenditures due to the effects of COVID-19.
The CARES Act provides $8,100 in grant funding to the Weakley County Office on Aging in Dresden. The resolution stipulates $7,100 will be spent for food supplies, and $1,000 for other supplies and materials
CARES Act funds in the amount of $2,900 have been awarded to Sharon Senior Center to help offset additional expenditures incurred due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. A breakdown of expenditures shows $2,400 is allocated for food and $500 for other materials and supplies.
The committees also authorized the Weakley County School Nutrition Fund to convey old food serving trays, that would otherwise be disposed of, to the McKenzie School Nutrition program. Director of Weakley County Schools Randy Frazier explained Weakley County School Nutrition purchased approximately 450 new food trays for Dresden K-8 School, and since the old food trays would have been thrown away, they were donated to McKenzie’s School Nutrition Department, which needs them. He stated this is a common practice among non-profit governmental agencies, and Weakley County has received items donated by governmental entities from other counties in the past. The authority of the Weakley County Legislative Body to convey property to other public entities without competitive bidding is affirmed in the resolution, as cited under Tennessee Law.
The Finance, Ways and Means Committee approved a resolution budgeting $18,828 in state grant funding for the Weakley County Sheriff’s Department, to help offset the cost of transporting persons with mental health emergencies.
“The sheriff’s department shouldn’t be transporting patients,” Sheriff Wilson said.
“I need all of my officers,” he added.
Sheriff Wilson explained Tennessee state law allows for sheriffs to appoint a secondary unit to handle mental health transportation. He stated Weakley County has entered into an agreement with Amerimed Services. The cost for the patient transportation company to provide the service will be paid out of the $18,828 grant.
The committee agreed to create a line item for revenue and expenditures to budget the grant funding.
In other business, the Finance, Ways and Means Committee approved a budget transfer in the Weakley County Trustee’s Office. The committee transferred $1,540 out of the line item for data processing services. The transfer provides $775 in additional funding for rentals, $3,000 more for office supplies and $6,740 for furniture and fixtures.
These resolutions and other items were considered by the Weakley County Commission, during its Tuesday, January 19 meeting.
When asked to give an update on the status of student attendance regarding COVID-19, Frazier said, “We’re one of the few school systems in this area that has not had to close schools since we started (this semester). Our numbers are much better now than before Christmas.” He stated there are also fewer cases of flu, strep throat and stomach viruses this year, which he attributes to the safety measures being taken to guard against COVID-19.
County Mayor Jake Bynum praised the Weakley County Health Department for the job its doing vaccinating as many people as they can with the limited number of shots available. He stated it works much better to vaccinate citizens at the McWherter Civic Center-Dresden Senior Center, due to parking limitations and traffic flow issues at the Health Department. There is also an awning to shield medical staff and citizens from the rain, while receiving their vaccinations. To get on the COVID-19 vaccine waiting list, contact the Weakley County Health Department at 731-364-2210.
Because of a loss of in-class learning due to the coronavirus, for the next two summers, the state is offering to sponsor a six-week summer program for each school system that would like to have it for students that may have gotten behind in their schoolwork. The funding will pay for teachers’ salaries, food and transportation for these summer classes.
In other business, Frazier also expressed his appreciation to Sheriff Wilson and the Weakley County Sheriff’s Department for fingerprinting approximately 300 School Department staff members as part of their required background checks.
Details from Tuesday night’s Weakley County Commission meeting will be available in the Wednesday, January 27 edition of The Enterprise.