BY DAVID FISHER
The Weakley County Commission took action on several important issues during Thursday night’s regular monthly meeting at the Weakley County Courthouse.
This included approving a $4.2 million grant resolution, amending the opioid settlement agreement, and passing a broadband resolution.
Commissioners also honored and congratulated the Westview High School Lady Chargers for winning the Division I—Class 2A State Basketball Championship.
$4.2 Million School Grant Resolution
A General Purpose School Fund resolution budgeting $4,235,650 in additional grant funding for the current fiscal year, which involves no local monies, received unanimous board approval, with 17 members present and one absent.
The resolution provides state funding to bus high-cost students with disabilities, as well as resources, support, and sustainability between schools, the workforce, and post-secondary opportunities.
(See separate article, “$4.2 Million School Grant Targets Transportation and Educational Needs.”)
Opioid Abatement Agreement
The commission approved a resolution authorizing Weakley County to join the state of Tennessee and other local governments in amending the Tennessee State-Subdivision Opioid Abatement Agreement and approve the related settlements.
The resolution involves entering into negotiations with: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd.; Allergan Finance, LLC; Walgreens Co.; CVS Health Corporation, Health Corporation; Walmart, Inc.; and other pharmaceutical distributors, concerning the opioid lawsuit settlement, which involves their prescribing and filling of opioid prescriptions, and the aftermath of those incidents.
“By approving the resolution, Weakley County will be listed among those filing for compensation, Mayor Bynum said. “This allows us to receive those funds from the State and the other providers, through the federal settlement.”
According to Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum, in September 2022, the federal government distributed 15 percent of the total settlement to the states and Weakley County received 15 percent. He noted the county has a great deal of leeway in how this money is spent, including on things not necessarily related to opioid abatement.
Of the remaining 70 percent in federal funding, 35 percent goes directly to the counties. However, there are restrictions on what the money may be used for. It is earmarked for items such as drug treatment, remediation and prevention. The expenditure of these funds must be documented.
“We will probably receive our first payment within the next month,” Bynum said. “The State will disburse the remaining 35 percent in grants, which must be applied for.”
The American Rescue Plan Act has awarded Weakley County with $50,000 to help provide local assistance in establishing county-wide broadband communications.
The resolution notes that the Weakley County Commission is committed to expanding a broadband network to the entire rural areas of Weakley County. Weakley County has been successfully awarded multiple grant-funded projects through the partnership with West Kentucky and Tennessee Telecommunications. However, there were several homes just outside the designated areas. Weakley County intends to use discretionary funds to pay for half the cost of expanding into the contiguous properties.
Mental Health Transport Grant
A resolution authorizing budget amendments to the General Fund for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023, passed by unanimous vote.
The resolution budgets funding that the Weakley County Sheriff’s Department has received from a Mental Health Transport Grant from the State of Tennessee for expenses related to the transport of non-inmate patients.
Revenue provided by the Public Safety Grant totals $34,477. Out of this amount, $10,477 is earmarked for “other contracted services; and $24,000 for motor vehicle expenditures.
The commission approved a resolution, which transfers $2,764 out of the restricted fund balance to purchase data processing equipment.
The resolution states the Weakley County Sheriff’s Department receives fee income from the sexual offender registry and these funds are restricted for the purchase of data processing and law enforcement equipment.
Another general fund resolution that budgets $9,635 in additional revenue from items sold at a surplus auction was approved 17-0.
The resolution notes that the Weakley County Sheriff’s Department sold surplus firearms at a public auction and the proceeds from the sale of these firearms are to be allocated solely for law enforcement purposes. For this reason, the WCSD has requested additional funding for uniforms
Court Clerk’s Office Equipment
A resolution authorizing budget amendments to the general fund transfers $1,775 out of restricted fund balance in order for the Weakley County Court Clerk to purchase additional data processing equipment.
Westview Lady Chargers Honored
Shortly after the meeting opened, the Westview Lady Chargers and their coaches were called forward to be recognized for winning the Division I—Class 2A State Basketball Championship.
Only a couple of the team members were present, because most were playing other sports at the time. After Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum read a resolution in their honor, the commissioners and others in the audience applauded the players and coaches for their outstanding accomplishments.
(See separate article, “Westview Lady Chargers Honored for State Championship Win.”)
Message From The County Mayor
Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum announced public interviews for the new Director of Weakley County Schools position are set for Monday, March 27. According to Bynum, Chairmen of the Weakley County School Board, Steve Vantrease, said the meeting agenda should go out March 17.
Surplus Property List Addition
The commission approved placing the HVAC units left at the Weakley County Detention Center on the county’s surplus property list.
The next regular meeting is on May 15, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.