By DALE GRAHAM
The Cheatham County Commission met in regular session Monday night. David Davidson was absent.
During the Public Forum portion of the meeting, several residents spoke out in favor of, and opposed to moving forward with information gathering on the Red River Preserve project. The commission voted last month not to approve $32,500 from the Capital Projects budget to fund development of a business plan and model of the proposed 1100 acre office park off of I24 in partnership with Robertson County.
Later in this week’s meeting a motion to “renew” that discussion was brought forward from the Capital Improvements committee, in order to approve that $32,500 that was denied last month, LuAnn Engelman seconded. Dale McCarver said that the public had not been given the opportunity to weigh in on the subject, and the public should have “a month’s notice on this”.
Mayor McCullough stated that this has been in discussion for 2 years, and there will be lots more discussion if the decision is made to move ahead with the project. He said that decision cannot be made without the business plan and study.
Ann Jarreau agreed with McCarver, as did Walter Weakley who motioned to table for 30 days, which was seconded by Jimmy Hedgepath. That motion failed.
When it was time to vote on the original motion, Haines left the chair’s seat to vice chair Jordan, so that Haines could speak from his commission seat. Haines stated that although he understands both sides of the discussion, “We spend $44 million a year on education to educate kids, that the day they get out of school, they got to go somewhere else to get a job”, adding, “what kind of a return on your investment is that?”
After lengthy discussion, the vote was 7 yes to 5 no: (Yes votes) Myers, Jordan, Wood, Engelman, Haines Ramsey, Sanders; (No votes) McCarver, Hedgepath, Weakley, Jarreau. Davidson absent.
On a motion by Donnie Jordan, 6th District Representative (R) John Haines was again elected to serve as Chairman of the County Commission, (Betty Ramsey, Dorris Sanders, Ann Jarreau, Dale McCarver, Jordan, Walter Weakley, LuAnn Engelman, Haines and Jimmy Hedgepath voting for Haines). Donnie Jordan was nominated by John-Paul Wood, but declined. Wood then nominated David McCullough who received 2 votes; from Rob Myers, Wood.
Donnie Jordan was unanimously elected as Chairman Pro Tems.
The Cheatham County Long Term Recovery Organization was honored for their boundless efforts to help people recover after the terrible flood of May, 2010. “This group here, from the day the flood started, began making phone calls about how to help people”, McCullough said of the recovery organization. He pointed out that they received approval of non-profit status less than 60 days after May 1st, adding “I’m am so impressed”. They also helped rebuild 31 houses, “these citizens here are proof of the awesome results if what can be accomplished when a unified passion and joint effort is made”, McCullough said.
Mayor McCullough introduced the county’s new Director of Economic and Community Development, Daryl Phillips, calling him a “great fit” for the county.
The Cheatham County Commission meets the third Monday of each month at 7p.m. in the General Sessions Courtroom in Ashland City.