From the Desk of

J. Michael Cross County Executive

     This week’s column is the first of two addressing the annual “State of the County” report from the County Executive’s Office. This week’s focus looks back on 2016. Next week’s column will focus on the upcoming projects and projections for 2017.

     The 2016 Calendar Year for Fentress County Government proved to be one of the busiest in several years, with a number of significant projects on the agenda. A partial list include:

     The demolition of the “Old Jail” and the “Courthouse Beautification Project”. This project also includes the building of a retaining wall on the west side of the courthouse and the implementation of a $27,000.00 Beautification Grant awarded to the Fentress County Chamber of Commerce.

     The Fentress County Commission voted to declare as surplus and sale the “Taubert Property”. At absolute auction, the property sold for approximately $490,000.00. The bulk of the proceeds are to be paid on Fentress County Government’s outstanding debt.

     Fentress County welcomed “LanPac” Industries to the Clarkrange area. LanPac occupies the old Robinsons Manufacturing Plant. With a workforce of approximately 40 new jobs, LanPac sorts and ships almost 300,000 books per week for Walmart and Amazon. I was privileged to be an integral part of the negotiations between Robinsons and the new owners of the property.

     Fentress County was awarded a THDA Grant in the amount of $375,000.00 to help economically disadvantaged, elderly and disabled with home improvements. Presently, we are working out the details for administrating the grant.

     Fentress County also received a CDBG Grant in the amount of $315,000.00 to build an Emergency Shelter in the Pall Mall area of the county. Engineering and design are being worked on with construction to begin later this year.

     We were able to obtain a 180 foot free standing tower from FEMA for a whopping $100.00. The construction of the tower has been completed with plans to install emergency communications equipment later this spring. This should improve E-911 transmissions as well as help ambulance, police, fire and rescue communications.

     The Fentress County Ambulance Service has transitioned to outsource billing for increased efficiency. With newly named Ambulance Service Director Michael Paul Beaty, our commitment to public service and professional services remain paramount.

     Fentress County, with the help of the Tennessee Department of Economic Development, has launched a new “Economic Development” website. Additionally, we have a new ECD Conference Room in the courthouse that provides a professional setting for meetings and planning sessions.

     We were able to help the Senior Citizen’s Center expand their services to our elderly by opening the “Silver Salon” within the center. We feel that our Senior Center is the best in the Upper Cumberland and are committed to continued expansion of services.

     We saw progress from TDOT on the Highway 127 Project. We attended meetings with the House of Representatives, the Senate, TDOT Officials and Governor Haslam several times throughout the year to discuss the importance of the project to Fentress County. We hope to see construction from I-40 to Legion Road in Cumberland County sometime in the 2017 Calendar Year.

     With a short rest through the holiday season, “Team Fentress” will turn its focus on 2017. Here’s hoping for a productive year for our county, state and country.

     We can be reached at 879-7713. Executive Assistant Amanda hicks can also be reached at ten.s1500749665ekalw1500749665t@skc1500749665ihadn1500749665ama1500749665. County Commission Meetings are held every third Monday of the month at 6:00 p.m. following a 5:00 o’clock work session. All meetings are open to the public.