Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis reported to the county commission Monday afternoon that renewal of the county’s insurance plan will be due July 1. He said 2015-2016 has been a unique year because of a large worker’s compensation claim. That one claim well out-passed what was paid in premiums, he said. The Local Government Insurance Pool was formed in order to level out spikes in insurance costs, he said. One bid from a local company called for a 10 percent increase to the county’s insurance costs. The mayor then successfully negotiated a three percent overall increase across the board through the insurance pool. This will amount to an increase expense of $87,000.
This year the additional cost due to the claim will be put in the department where the claim occurred.
Five bids have been received for building a new workhouse, and they were fairly close together, said the mayor. Two companies are local and three are from out of town. The lowest and best is one of the local companies, said Mayor Davis. A vote to accept a bid will take place next Monday at the commission meeting. The original estimated cost of the project was $2.9 million. Three options for the new facility were submitted. Option one for $2.3 million; option two for $2,902 million, or option three for a little over $3.1 million. Option three includes rental space which might pay for the difference in the cost of the project and the amount set aside for it in the budget.
With over 7,000 outstanding warrants, the large number of people who owe child support, and already over-crowded jails in Bradley County, "we have to do something to alleviate the problem, "said Vice Chairman Jeff Yarber. He added that because the county does no rehabilitation, that alleviating overcrowding is not a long range fix. He said inmates need to be put in jobs so when they are released they will have a work history which helps in getting the next job and staying employed. The higher the rehabilitation, the more people it takes out of jail. It takes two generations to change the life cycle of a family, he told the commissioners.
Mr. Yarber also informed the commission about the Sheriff’s Office Litter Campaign. It cleaned up 16 county roads, four state roads, and picked up over 6,000 pounds of litter in Cleveland.
The commission recognized Garrett Chastain for performing the job of flag sentry for the county during the past year. He is in the junior ROTC. The position requires that flags at city or county facilities be raised or lowered in a respectful manner whenever the governor of Tennessee orders it, any time of day, night or on holidays. Sea Cadet Petty Officer Second Class Ethan Morgan was introduced as the flag sentry for 2016-2017.
The principal and teacher in charge of the STEM program at Ocoee Middle School came to the commission meeting to demonstrate what is being learned in the program. Dustin From, who teaches math and science, heads this program for the school. He brought students who have participated this year to the commission meeting to demonstrate what has been done in the project-based learning program. “This STEM program is a new opportunity for students to stretch their learning as we partner with the community and businesses,” said the principal from the school.
Demonstrations included 3-D printing, where the students created a stronger version of printed handles. Using mathematics, one student showed how animation can be brought alive. Another showed how a video game was designed and created. These students also participated in the Science Olympiad, where they brought home 17 out of 19 medals. One example showed how a series of machines were used to make a bell to ring. Robotics is another unit that students participated in this year.