Loudon County Commission has begun doling out American Rescue Plan Act funds all over the community.
Commissioners approved March 6 the recommendations for Districts 1, 4 and 7. Commission voted late last year to split $5 million of the county’s ARPA receipts, with $500,000 to be decided by each commissioner.
In District 1, Chase Randolph in Seat A and Bill Geames in Seat B will each use $375,000 for paving county roads, $10,000 for the Dunbar Rosenwald Foundation, Inc., $5,000 for Kiwanis Club of Tellico Village, $10,000 for Loudon County Sheriff’s Department Benevolent Fund, $50,000 for Tellico Village Volunteer Fire Department and $20,000 for partial funding of erosion control at Loudon County Senior Center.
“Well, Commissioner Geames and I, we have a lot of the same thought patterns, so we decided we’ll work together with different organizations,” Randolph said. “The money obviously was earmarked for the first district and, with both of us representing the same people within the first district, we thought that our money could best be used together.”
The Dunbar foundation is trying to get the historic school building in Loudon restored, which is significant for the community, Randolph said. TVVFD didn’t receive a grant for breathing apparatuses, so the two commissioners wanted to make that happen.
The benevolent fund was one of the first organizations to help the family of Sgt. Chris Jenkins after he was killed in the line of duty last year. Reimbursing the fund for the money given to the Jenkins family helps the group continue to do good in the community, Randolph said.
“I believe it will benefit all of Loudon County in various ways depending on which organization that we’re speaking of,” Randolph said. “These are all very worthy organizations, and I know that they’ll put the funds to good use and when the money is spent it will benefit everyone.”
With a small amount left, Randolph and Geames hope to meet a need that arises later.
Gary Whitfield, District 4 commissioner, recommended $50,000 for the Philadelphia Fire Department.
Whitfield said the all-volunteer department survives on donations and the money will finance truck improvements, new gear and breathing apparatuses.
“It’s just a great donation,” Whitfield said. “We have just a wonderful volunteer fire department down in Philadelphia with a lot of men and women that work very, very hard to protect our citizens on the lower end, and it was a pleasure to be able to help them out.”
He said he is looking at a project for paving 7/10 of a mile of Fork Creek Road at a cost of $120,000.
Henry Cullen, District 7 commissioner and chairman, recommended $20,000 for Tellico Reservoir Development Agency and $70,000 for Friends of Tellico Village Library.
Cullen, who also sits on the TRDA board, said he wanted to see improvements at the Poplar Spring boat ramp in Tellico Village. The money will seal, coat and stripe the ramp and parking spaces, refurbish the dock and replace some signs.
“The Friends of the Library exist on donations,” Cullen said. “They had a HVAC system that failed and had to be replaced, and it was expensive and they took a loan on it.”
The ARPA funds will cover what remains on the loan, he said.
Cullen previously recommended $175,000 for a new fire boat for TVVFD.
In an unrelated matter, Finance Director Tracy Blair attended her final meeting before retirement after 18 years in the position. Erin Rice, who has worked with Blair for several years, takes over the position.
In other business, commissioners:
• Amended the zoning map from C-2, General Commercial District, to R-1, Suburban-Residential District, for property located at tax map 020D, parcel 011.00 in District 2.
• Amended the zoning map from A-1, Agricultural-Forestry District, to C-2, General Commercial District, for property located at tax map 044, parcel 045.00 in District 3.
• Appointed Nancy Gregg a member of the Public Records Commission.
• Approved Tennessee Highway Grant application for LCSO.
• Sent a letter of opposition to representatives in the Tennessee General Assembly regarding four pending bills.
The next commission workshop is 6 p.m. Monday at the Loudon County Courthouse Annex, while the next regular meeting is 6 p.m. April 3.