Dan Finnerty – Contributing Writer
On election night, Nov. 8, Macon County Commissioners (MCC) met as they always do on the second Tuesday of each month in the commissioners boardroom on the third floor of the county courthouse. This month’s meeting had a somewhat different feel with Chairman Jim Tate presiding over his last meeting, and the outcome of two other board positions still uncertain at the 6 p.m. start time. Representing District 1 (Highlands), Tate, who has served on the board for 11 years, began the meeting by individually thanking all of his fellow board members for their time together serving Macon County. He also ended the gathering by bringing his wife, Allison, up to the meeting platform to help him adjourn his last meeting. Tate thanked his spouse, citing he was “married to the most patient woman in the world. During my time on this board, we’ve raised kids, business, and she’s given me advice on how to run this county.”
On the agenda was an update to a contract for architectural services in support of the Highlands Pre-K project. Presented by County Manager Derek Roland, the update pointed out the scope of services, previously discussed at the joint meeting with the Macon County Board of Education on Oct. 18. The estimated budget for the project is $4.7 million with the negotiated architect fee at $329,255, which is spread across six phases. Roland explained that the contract is modeled after the Franklin High School project.
L3SP Senior Project Manager Emily Kite provided updated information on the project’s status. Architectural firm LS3P has made requested changes to the contract and presented to the board, including renovations of two classrooms for pre-K and some others being modified to compensate for space required for the renovation. Commissioner Ronnie Beale motioned to move the contract forward to include all phases and architectural funding be allocated from the overall budget. The board voted and passed the motion by a 3-2 vote. The project is currently scheduled to begin Nov. 15 and completed by July 1, 2024.
Veteran Services Director Leigh Tabor-Holbrooks presented a resolution designating Macon County as a “Green Light for Veterans” county and declaring Nov. 7-11, (Veterans Day) as a time to salute and honor the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform transitioning from active service.
“The National Association of Counties and the National Association of County Veteran Services Officers work together to do Operation Green Light,” Tabor-Holbrooks said.
One other topic of discussion included a request by Macon County Recreational Park Director Seth Adams for approval of some space currently designated as softball and baseball fields to be converted to pickleball courts. Adams pointed out that there is already funding set aside for the courts once utilization of the requested space is approved. A motion to approve use of the space for pickleball courts.
The next county commissioner meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13 at which the Board will elect a new chairman and vice-chairman for the upcoming year.