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Roane hiring veteran service officer

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By Cindy Simpson

Veterans and their families will soon have a county official dedicated to helping them with their benefits and other concerns.

Roane County is planning to hire a veterans service officer early next year which will be located on the third floor of the Roane County Courthouse.

“What happened was is the county historically has given about $1,000 to four in-dividuals, and those individuals have worked out of American Legions. The state approached us about a year ago saying ‘you are under-serving your veterans. Anderson County has a part time one. Morgan County is fixing to put in a part time veteran service officer. You all need to do more,’” said County Executive Ron Woody.

Soon after things started falling into place to make that happen.

“So once all the pieces started falling into place we decided to take the state’s recommendation, and then unanimously approved for allocating the space and then allocating a budget for it,” Woody said.

Woody said they’d soon begin taking applications for the part time position and hope to perhaps have it filled by January 2014.

In October the property committee recommended the county commission locate the veterans service officer in the third floor space once held by the University of Tennessee Extension office. Earlier this year the county was doing renovations on the third floor and the Extension office was asked to move their offices to the former juvenile center space next to the Roane County Highway Department. The juvenile center is now at the old Roane County Jail.

The other part of the former UT Extension space will be used for the property assessor office during the appraisal year.

Woody said they previously spent about $12,000 every four years renting space outside the courthouse for reappraisals.

“When you have reappraisal you have state staff that comes in, and you don’t have enough room. We worked with the property committee to reassign the Ag space to reappraisal. There is enough space up there that we blocked off one of the rooms. It has its own exit and entry for the veterans service office,” Woody said.

Woody said they are also expanding the new Extension office in Midtown with a conference room.

“We are basically doubling it,” Woody said.

Moving the Extension office to Midtown didn’t just free up space in the courthouse, but it saved money on security, which has to be present any time there is a meeting of any sort at the Roane County Courthouse.

Woody said the Extension office had about 150 to 200 night meetings during the year because of their classes and programs.

Woody said the expansion of the Extension office in Midtown would be about a $250,000 project.