Trousdale prison

Trousdale County has a new, five-year contract with CoreCivic to operate the company’s Trousdale Turner Correctional Center.

The County Commission approved the agreement during its May 24 meeting, ensuring the county’s partnership with the prison, which has endured its share of controversy since opening in 2016, will continue. A new contract with the state to have a prison in Trousdale County was also approved.

“We are grateful that the Hartsville/Trousdale County Commission voted to renew our contract at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC). CoreCivic’s partnership with the State of Tennessee has spanned nearly 40 years. We’re proud of the innovative solutions we’ve provided at TTCC that prepare inmates to successfully return to their communities, while also saving taxpayers money,” said Ryan Gustin, Public Affairs Manager for CoreCivic.

“The original contract was for five years. This new one is for five years we’ve entered into with CoreCivic and the state. (County Attorney Branden) Bellar and the mayor have worked extensively on it,” said Commission Chairman Dwight Jewell.

The terms of the contract are mostly unchanged from the current one, which expires at the end of June. CoreCivic has agreed to pay a $300,000 administrative fee, with that amount due on July 1 each year.

No plans for the additional funds have been made but County Mayor Stephen Chambers suggested setting it aside toward paying for a new jail, which is looming on the horizon.

“Exactly where this will be parked will be decided by the Budget & Finance Committee,” Jewell added. “Certainly the mayor’s recommendation is going to come into play.”

The county’s proposed budget also was approved on first reading and will come back at the Commission’s June meeting for second and possibly third votes. The budget proposals total $7.617 million in the county general fund, $823,652 in Solid Waste, $1.248 million for the Ambulance Service, $2.262 million for the Highway Department, $875,080 for Debt Service, $607,410 for Education Debt Service, $13.235 million for the school system and $1.236 million in the Urban Services District.

The county’s tax rates also received approval on first reading and are unchanged from last year at $2.4388 in the county and $0.8753 in the Urban Services District.

Four budget amendments also received approval, three of which were internal transfers of funds. $8,000 will be used to purchase new trash bins for Solid Waste, $25,000 was added to a line item for disposal fees paid to the Smith County Landfill and $14,332 in cleanup items in the Highway Department. The fourth, for $12,162.29, is insurance recovery by the Highway Department.

Commissioners also approved the 2021 County Road List, with the additions of Acorn Trail, Hickory Ridge Lane and Tulip Court, plus the moving of Griffs Hollow Lane and Vaden Hill Lane from gravel to asphalt.

Three re-zonings received approval after a public hearing and second vote. The first changes 14.4 acres along Highway 25 next to Blankenship Collision from commercial to residential for development as a 48-lot subdivision. The second changes 0.69 acres from residential to commercial, and the third changes 10 acres on Highway 231S from agricultural to commercial.

Commissioners also approved the appointments of Mary Ann Baker to the Ethics Review Board, the reappointment of David Thomas and Mark Swaffer to the Planning Commission, and the appointments of Jerry Ford to the Public Records Commission and Lonnie Taylor to the Resale of Land Committee.

Four notaries were also approved: Michelle Key, Theresa Creasey, Jenesia Ellis and Robert Charles.

The County Commission’s next meeting will be held June 28 at 7 p.m. in the old courthouse.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

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