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By DAMON LAWRENCE
Roane County Commission will hold a work session at 7 p.m. on Tuesday to discuss possible uses for vacant properties.
The session will be held at the courthouse.
The opening of the new jail has freed up some space in county-owned buildings. Space is available at the old jail and the old emergency management office on the third floor of the courthouse. The county also owns a vacant house adjacent to the new jail. The public is invited to come share its thought on what should be done with the house, old jail and old emergency management office.
There’s already been a lot of talk going on about the vacant properties.
Purchasing agent Lynn Farnham told Commissioner Benny East recently that the zoning office, which is on the third floor of the courthouse, would be relocating to the house. Farnham said she received a call from George Myers, the man who oversaw construction of the new jail, about hooking up phones in the house.
“George Myers is not the boss,” East said.
East said he’s also received a request that juvenile-court referee Charles Crass be allowed to use the old emergency management office. There’s also been reports about outside agencies checking out space on the third floor of the courthouse, which seemed to baffle some commissioners.
“There are people that I understand are already measuring office space with the intent of moving into it,” Commission Chairman Troy Beets said. “Really, I don’t think anybody with authority has given permission to move.”
Several ideas have been tossed around about the old jail. The county uses the courthouse as one of its voting sites. East, chairman of the county’s property committee, said he’d like to see the election office moved into the old jail to cut down on the amount of foot traffic in the courthouse during election time.
Commissioner Jerry Goddard, who also serves on the property committee, said he wouldn’t want to move someone into the old jail if they don’t request to go.
Commissioner David Olsen said he doesn’t think the commission should vote to decide who gets to use the vacant properties.
“It’s just best if a few people decide and this does not become a voting issue before the county commission,” he said. “Somehow the property committee and the county (executive) decide this, but we should have a workshop to get what people’s interests are.”
The situation the county is facing with the vacated properties apparently doesn’t happen very often.
“The only time in my knowledge that we have had a situation like this was when (former district attorney general) Scott McCluen left his space here in the courthouse,” County Executive Mike Farmer said.
The commission will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday to hear from people interested in filling the vacant constable position in District 2.
The position became open after the recent death of constable Leon Moore.
People interested in the position should check with the election office to find out the requirements to be a constable.