Comm. David Hudson presents his proposal for a new grocery store in Lone Oak to the county commission.
July 15, 2019 – Commissioner David Hudson, who represents District 8 on the Sequatchie County Commission, has been talking privately with a representative for a major grocery chain about locating a shopping center on Signal Mountain. At tonight's meeting of the commission, Hudson informed the rest of the board about what has been done.
“We're only at the talking phase at this point,” Hudson said to a packed house. “I have been in contact with a representative for Food City. They've tried bringing a store into Hamilton County twice. They've been turned down so far, so I appoached them.”
Hudson said the company is interested in locating to zip code 37377 because of the high average household income, estimating over $10 million in disposable income in the community, which straddles the county line.
Extension Agent Sheldon Barker with two local students who went to 4-H camp this summer. Megan Foster, who attended culinary camp, and Jimmy Copeland, who attended electrical camp, led the Pledge of Allegiance at the county commission meeting.
“And it's not just a grocery store,” Hudson said. “It's a commercial development.”
Over 50 people attended tonight's meeting, many of them concerned citizens from Lone Oak interested in hearing about the proposed store.
Comm. Tom Vennero asked the opinion of Tommy Johnson, who is the other commissioner representing the 8th District, and Johnson stated that he first heard about the proposal at 11 p.m. Wednesday when he opened the packet for tonight's meeting.
“You two need to get on the same page,” Vennero said. “If it were me, I'd go to every registered voter and ask if they want a grocery store. Then I'd ask what kind of restrictions they want.”
When asked if Food City sells beer and wine, Hudson said, “Yes, they do.”
“Thursday we had a lively and large community meeting on the mountain,” Johnson said, noting that that was the first time most of his constituents in Lone Oak heard about the grocery store idea, as well.
“I encourage openness to the community,” Johnson said.
“That would be close to the county line,” Comm. Jeff Mackey said. “The vast majority of people shopping there would be coming out of Hamilton County. It would not represent much of a traffic increase. I like the idea. So often we take money from this county to Home Depot and other stores in Hamilton County. It would be a chance to bring some of that tax revenue back in the county.”
But Mackey agreed with Comm. Vennero. He told Comm. Hudson, “You and Mr. Johnson need to be on the same page with this.”
The Monday night meeting of the Sequatchie County Commission was to present a final draft of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget to commissioners. It will now be advertised for two weeks, to allow county residents an opportunity for input, and then the commission will vote on it at a special called meeting July 29.
Budget Committee Chairman Jeff Barger presented a copy of the budget to each commissioner, informing them that the budget reflects no tax increase for the coming year.
“We had good growth,” Barger said, “so there is no tax increase in this proposed budget.”
Will Pitt, of Puckett EMS, announced the company will host an Emergency Medical Responder course for anyone who would like the training in the next few months, with the deadline to sign up July 21.
Describing the course material as “first aid on steroids,” Pitt encouraged all volunteer firefighters and police officers to take the class, but it is open to anyone who wants the training.
Pitt also announced that Puckett will station an extra ambulance in Whitwell, beginning this week, during the peak hours of 11 a.m.-11 p.m., to provide additional service for both Marion and Sequatchie counties.
In other business, the Sequatchie County Commission:
- Saw Highway Supervisor Eric Higgins present a plaque to Chester Stewart, who is retiring after 40 years of service in the Highway Department.
- Heard Sheriff Coy Swanger report that the Tennessee Corrections Insitute found “no deficiencies” in the Sequatchie County Jail in their annual review.
- Heard EMS Director Winfred Smith state that all the county's volunteer fire departments need volunteers, whether they are trained as firefighters or trained as emergency medical personnel.
- Voted on two new road names: Piney Ridge Trail on Signal Mountain and Hillbilly Hill, just off West Valley Road.
- Heard Paige Narramore extend an invitation to all, to participate in the “Christmas In July 5K Race” July 27, with proceeds going to the Dunlap Lions Club Christmas outreach. Sign-up is $25 and an unwrapped toy.
- Approved two Notaries Public.
- Discussed plans to form a County Industrial Development Board (IDB).
County Executive Keith Cartwright asked for prayer for former Dunlap Mayor George Wagner, who is in ill health.
All members of the county commission were present at the July 15 meeting except Ray Hobbs, and all votes were unanimous.
The Sequatchie County Commission meets quarterly in the upstairs courtroom at the courthouse on Cherry Street, Dunlap. All meetings are open to the public.
A special called meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, July 29, for adoption of the FY 2020 county budget.
Sequatchie County Highway Supervisor Eric Higgins (right) presents a plaque to Chester Stewart as Stewart's wife looks on.