Bedford County commissioners selected Jason Sanders to the District 3 seat in a three-round vote during Tuesday night’s December meeting. Commissioners chose the late Jimmy Patterson’s replacement from among his son-in-law Terry Davenport, Rick Gann, Brent Stacy and Sanders. The first candidate to reach 10 votes won the seat, with the lowest-polling hopeful being dropped after each round...
Bedford County commissioners selected Jason Sanders to the District 3 seat in a three-round vote during Tuesday night’s December meeting.
Commissioners chose the late Jimmy Patterson’s replacement from among his son-in-law Terry Davenport, Rick Gann, Brent Stacy and Sanders. The first candidate to reach 10 votes won the seat, with the lowest-polling hopeful being dropped after each round.
Sanders earned six votes in the first round, Davenport 5, Stacy 4 and Gann 2. The vote was Sanders 7, Davenport 6 and Stacy 4 in the second round. Sanders outpolled Davenport 10-6 in the final round with commissioner Brent Smith passing.
The oath of office was administered immediately to Sanders by County Attorney John T. Bobo.
**No overlay talk
A request by Commissioner Jeff Sweeney to suspend the rules to allow discussion of, and a vote on, “technical changes” to the county’s new rural village zoning overlay designations was denied. The request had not been placed on the December agenda.
Controversy has risen around the overlays, which would allow convenience stores in Flat Creek, Halls Mill, Bedford and Wheel to sell beer without having to apply for a license. Churches are within 2,000 feet of a store, the normal state-required distance from a house of worship, in each of those areas.
Some members of Flat Creek Church of Christ object to a proposed new building, including addition of package beer and in-house consumption, for nearby Sunchaser Market. Sweeney’s construction firm has done remodeling work for the current market on State Route 82 at New Center Church Road. Sweeney and the market’s owners deny claims he has been hired to construct a new building next door, which some say would be a conflict of interest.
Sweeney initially asked for the suspension without giving reasons why. Commissioner P.T. “Biff” Farrar said he didn’t understand the need to rush, and said the discussion could wait until the January meeting.
Bobo said Sweeney needed to explain his reasons for the request.
Sweeney said he wanted to “remove or strike” his amendment from a previous meeting which grandfathered existing businesses into rural village overlays, and defer action on beer permit requests in those areas until a ruling by the state attorney general on the legality of the county’s action and clarification by Bobo.
Commissioners voted 12-6 against suspension.
Two past county leaders were saluted.
Commissioners voted unanimously to name State Route 437, the Shelbyville bypass, in honor of three-term county mayor and longtime county commissioner Eugene Ray. The proposed western leg of the bypass will also carry Ray’s name. The state legislature must grant final approval.
A moment of silence as the meeting began honored former County Judge Dorothy Orr, who died Friday at 93. Orr, whose duties were roughly the same as today’s county mayor, held the position in the 1970s. She was Tennessee’s first female county judge.
“I would like to challenge the commissioners to set an example and wear marks at all times in public,” Commissioner Don Gallagher said. “If we can’t do it we can’t ask other people to do it.”
Gallagher, who has consistently been masked at all county meetings since the COVID-19 pandemic began, noted Monday’s grim statistics of 125 new Bedford County cases in one day, a total death count of 41 as of Monday (which rose to 42 Tuesday), schools and some churches going to virtual-only worship. He didn’t directly urge a mask mandate but urged use.
Several routine county budget amendments passed unanimously, along with approval of sales of school system surplus items. “We’re excited to see those portables (classrooms) go away,” County Mayor Chad Graham said.
Commissioner Greg Vick and County Finance Director Robert Daniel were reappointed to the 231 Industrial Park Board.
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