Bradley eyes $1.3 million in COVID-19 state relief

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 5/21/20

Bradley County is seeking relief from the economic impact of COVID-19, requesting more than $1.3 million from the state of Tennessee.

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Bradley eyes $1.3 million in COVID-19 state relief

AS TENNESSEE continues its reopening in the shadows of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cleveland and Bradley County community is following suit. It's an encouraging sign for many, and this First Cumberland Presbyterian Church downtown reminder seems to add to the feeling of recovery.
AS TENNESSEE continues its reopening in the shadows of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cleveland and Bradley County community is following suit. It's an encouraging sign for many, and this First Cumberland Presbyterian Church downtown reminder seems to add to the feeling of recovery.
Banner photo, DANIEL GUY
Posted

Bradley County is seeking relief from the economic impact of COVID-19, requesting more than $1.3 million from the state of Tennessee.

The Bradley County Commission on Monday approved a resolution requesting the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration grant initial approval to fund $1,327,645 from the Governor’s Local Government Support Grants, in accordance with the provisions of Tennessee Public Chapter No. 651, Title III-22, Items 10.33-34.

The request includes:

• $700,000 for road projects. Of this amount, $200,000 is requested for repairs to several local bridges and box culverts “in dire need of repair to extend their longevity and provide safety to the traveling public; $175,000 is the county’s portion to pay for a safety improvement project with a local contractor for a one-mile section of Sheffey Lane near Charleston, requiring drainage improvements, base and road widening, vertical grade change and coordination with the railroad; $165,000 is to address flooding caused when multiple drainage tiles are blocked by debris — this project includes the construction of a metal arched bridge; and $160,000 for the purchase of a knuckle-boom truck to be used to pick up debris to “add efficiency when cleaning up after storms, opening drainage ways and loading trees that may fall in the right of way and cause a potential hazard to the public.”

• $170,000 for emergency services. This is to purchase new equipment to re-chassis one of Bradley County EMS’ ambulances to current standards and regulations.

• $359,000 for building improvements. Of this amount, $185,000 is to replace 17 HVC units at the Bradley County Justice Center; $150,000 is to purchase and install a new industrial water heater system for the justice center; and $24,000 is to replace three HVAC units at the Bradley County Juvenile Detention Center.

• $83,000 for law enforcement equipment. This is for the purchase of 80 new body cameras for patrol officers/first responders at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office. The $83,000 requested would be paired with $32,000 in citizen donations, for a total expenditure of $115,000 for the body cameras.

• $15,645 for courthouse improvements to address COVID-19. This is for the purchase of glass/plexiglass panels.

“In order to open the county courthouse after being closed for COVID-19, glass/plexiglass had to be installed in many offices,” the project description stated. “We were given approval to go ahead with this expenditure and be reimbursed with this grant money” after July 1, 2020.

In introducing the resolution, Commissioner Milan Blake said the state of Tennessee is helping counties “with all this that’s been going on” with the support grants, and County Mayor D. Gary Davis put together a package to submit on behalf of Bradley County.

“It’s in our best interest, to put it mildly, to get this and get it up in front of the people that are going to be making the final decisions in Nashville,” Blake said. “As the old saying goes, the early bird gets the worm, so I’m glad that we’re taking this up today and getting it approved and getting it up to Nashville so we can get on with this.”

Blake asked if there is a timeline for approval of the state money.

Davis said he has been told to anticipate a relatively quick approval.

In other news related to COVID-19:

• Commissioner Bill Winters said Bradley Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center is “doing tremendous work in this pandemic.”

“We have no COVID … there,” he said. “I really am proud of what’s going on and how the elderly residents of Bradley County are being treated.”

Chairman Johnny Mull said he is glad to hear there are no COVID-19 cases at the nursing home.

Winters noted the Bradley County Juvenile Detention Center is also doing well, with no COVID-19 cases reported there.

“We’re proud of the work they’re doing,” Winters said.

• Commissioner Kevin Raper said business is resuming “cautiously” and District 7 is doing well.

• A few commissioners and officials said they will be glad when county commission meetings can resume in-person at the courthouse.

“I cannot wait until we are … able to meet in person,” Commissioner Erica Davis said.

Commissioner Charlotte Peak agreed, noting, “I can’t wait until we get back to the commission meeting room.”

In a moment of levity, Peak also mentioned a few phrases she doesn’t care to hear, including social distance, “stay six feet apart,” coronavirus, COVID-19, face mask, and others.

Bradley County Clerk Donna Simpson said she will also be glad when meetings resume in the courthouse. Simpson’s office has been open on a limited-access basis since March.

Mull said the next county commission meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 1, at the courthouse.

"We're going to fix it … so we can have our meetings there," he said, adding he is looking forward to meeting in person.

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