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Commissioners Discuss Future Changes for Macon Countians

By Misty Green

District 7 Commissioner Jeff Hughes requested a topic to be placed on the November 6th work session of the Macon County Commissioners meeting, discussing increasing the number of School Board members that serve Macon County students.

“I do not have anything against any of our school board members,” Jeff Hughes explained in his opening statement. “This does not have anything to do with the one’s that we already have,” he reiterated, “but I have been approached by a few people who have said that they don’t feel like they are getting represented, fair… because, we have grown a lot in the last year or two and I feel like three school board members are making decisions for the school board and I don’t feel like we have enough, and I feel like we need more, and that is just my opinion… I don’t have a number or anything like that… I have had a few say ten up here, and some have said seven.”

“If you are going to change it,” Macon County Mayor Steve Jones said, “then you should change it from five to ten, then that would be the best thing, because then, you could have one member per district, and the problem you are going to have out of that is, getting someone to run under that district.” “I’d like to entertain a motion to send it on to the full body,” Mayor Steve Jones then said, and motion was hear among commissioners. Calling the roll on this vote, the following commissioners voted no: Phillip Snow, Todd Gentry, Keith Newberry, Billy Wilmore, Bobby Ray King, and Jarhea Wilmore. Motion carried. Absent from this meeting was Tony Wix, who told the mayor he had tested positive for covid.

District 3 Commissioner Ethan Flippin had also requested the Commissioners discuss increasing the amount of Impact Fees coming into the county. “I was just sitting here talking about how much money we are having to spend for jails… vocational school… I know some of that money allotted in the Impact Fee goes to the schools… and I am not saying to increase it to go directly to the vocational school, but, I don’t think it’s that far down the road, and at least the county will be benefiting something. A property just sold down in New Harmony and they are planning to put 100 houses down there, so… we pay what, $2.50 per square foot now? I think it needs to be over $5,” Flippin stated. 

“This is something that Guy Holliman (Macon County Attorney) needs to discuss,” Mayor Steve Jones replied, explaining, “I don’t know that the state will let you go past a certain amount.”

The commission approved to defer the Commissioner’s and Committee’s Meeting Minutes to the Legislative Body meeting: Legislative Body meeting on October 16, 2023; Board of Zoning Appeals meeting on September 19, 2023; and Joint Economic & Community Development meeting on October 4, 2023.

The commission approved the following budget amendments within the following departments: Capital Projects – Administrative Building, Jail Addition; Veterans Officer; Sheriff’s Department – SRO Grant, Salaries, Uniforms, Body Armor; County Clerk; Library; EMA; and Animal Control.

Commissioners approved the following resolution/proclamations: 11-12/23 Recycling Proclamation (November as Recycling Month); 11-13/23 Site Development Grant Resolution (Macon-Lafayette Industrial Park property); 11-14/23 O’Neal Property Rezoning (Public Hearing to be held); and 11-15/23 School Nutrition Fund Resolution.

It was mentioned that Director of Schools Shawn Carter will discuss the new vocational school in the upcoming Legislative Body meeting to be held on November 20th.

The Highway Committee agreed to look at a request made by Joe Barber concerning making Cold Springs Road/Hirestown Road a county road.

Macon County Sheriff Joey Wilburn took opportunity during this meeting to distribute the new policy and procedures (planned to be implemented in the police department and the county jail) to the county commissioners, who will use the next two weeks studying the documents and come back to the next meeting with their vote.

It was mentioned by Mayor Steve Jones that Judge Greg Traylor will be at the next meeting to discuss programs he would also like to implement.

Commissioners approved to defer ratification of Committee Appointments and the request to defer ratification of Animal Control Officer.

Commissioners discussed the relocation of water and sewer lines at the new Administrative Building/Health Department site.

Lafayette Little League discussed the new ball field at the Fairgrounds is planned to be located directly beside the Saddle Club’s Horse arena.

Commissioners also discussed a request to install antennas on Emergency Towers; Ambulance remount bids; Jail addition bids; Solid Waste bids for scales; the annual report for Macon County Soil and Water Conservation FY23.

Commissioners reviewed the following monthly reports and deferred to the Legislative Body: Building Codes/Impact Fee Report; Animal Control Report; and EMS Operational Report.

There will be an Executive Meeting during the Legislative Body Meeting scheduled for Monday, November 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the Courthouse.