Building Codes Among Topics of County Commission Meeting

The Fentress County Com-mission met in regular monthly session on Monday, November 21, 2016 and took action on a number of rather routine business items.

With all members present except Larry Cooper, the meeting was called to order by County Executive J. Michae Cross, followed by the presentation of Colors by the Clarkrange JROTC Color Guard, with County Commissioner Justin Miller leading the pledge to the flag and opening prayer by Bro. Andy Lowe.

Following approval of the minutes of the October 17 meeting and approval of notaries, the first order of business was an update on minimum building codes requirements.

Gary Farley, Director of Contract Inspection Services for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, addressed the commission, explalining the Residential Building Permit and Inspection Program,

He explained that the Tennessee Clean Energy Future Act of 2009 authorized the State Fire Marshal’s Office to adopt statewide residential building and energy codes, which gave local governments three options — to use state permits and inspections, to make local exemption, or to opt out.

He pointed out, however, that if Fentress County continued to opt out of the program, it could affect their eligibility for government grants.  He said that, if implemented, that these regulations would affect new construction only, and this was not zoning.  He further noted that on a $450 permit for a $1,000,000 home, at the current rate of interest, the permit fee would add less than $2.00 per month to the monthly payment.

He also pointed out benefits of the inspection program, which included:

*insures better structures, giving firefighters and first responders more time to get in to help, and residents more time to get out.

*15 points towards the 3 Star Grant Program.

*Counts towards the local ISO rating, benefitting every resident in the jurisdiction.

*FEMA benefits can improve.

*May utilize government programs (USDA, THDA, FHA)

*Can make getting loans easier.

*Flood insurance can triple without building codes.

*No overhead to local government.

Following Mr. Farley’s presentation, the commission took no action, but Executive Cross said that this matter would be referred to the planning commission for more study.

Bryant Johnson, Chairman of the Fentress County Audit Committee, then presented  the committee’s annual report. which reported ten findings, six of which were reoccurring, and involving 8 different department heads.  The commission accepted the report, after which Executive Cross commended the audit commitee for the good job they had done.

Next, they approved the acknowledgement of the deed from the Tennessee Department of Transpor-tation conferring the road (International Drive) in the Clarkrange Business Park to Fentress County.

They then  approved confirmation of an exemption of 8.54 acres north of the Taubert Property next to Delk Road as previously recommended by the Taubert Property Committee on September 28,  and approved a resolution for designation of proceeds from the sale of the Taubert Property to be retained in a reserve account for debt service.

County Attorney Leslie Ledbetter than addressed the commission, stating that public records and emails have recently become critical issues for government entities, and stressed the importance of having secure email accounts for county employees.

Read the rest of the story in this weeks Fentress Courier.