It is hard to believe that we have started a blank canvas for another year. 2022 was good to us, but 2023 is going to be even better.
As we have continued to share in the past, here are some quick departmental updates that go to the County Commission. Data is from October-December.
• Development Department — We are excited to begin our water line expansion projects with the Howards Chapel and Old Citico as equipment and material has been (obtained) and estimated completion is June 2023. Creek Road and Old Loudon Road have concluded engineering and GPS of wells and completion for fall 2023. Several other roads including Gudger are currently in the engineering stage.
• Progressing forward with partnering with the City of Madisonville in converting the “Stone” Health Department into the Monroe County Museum with Hiwassee College memorabilia.
• Airport Hanger Projects — Completion of apron rehab and beginning hanger expansion.
• Public Safety — Secured property and engineering for Sweetwater Radio Tower site as well as progressing on land acquisition for Ball Play site.
• We are in the design stage of the new Fairgrounds and Pavilion (Covered Arena) to be funded by grants. Our team has visited several sites across the state.
• The county unemployment rate holds at 3.5% with of estimated labor force of 19,779. Our businesses and industries continue to expand and relocate to Monroe County.
• Our Development Department reviewed major and minor subdivision plats affecting acres and completed boundary surveys, reviewed many business site plans and attended scheduled Planning Commission meetings. Monroe County has sold 62 building permits and three development permits.
• Solid Waste Department served 71,851 vehicles averaging 23,950 per month at the convenience centers while collecting 6,048 tons (12 million pounds) of garbage. Site preparation and excavation has begun for the new Vonore Solid Waste Convenient and Recycling Center in Niles Ferry Industrial Park. Solid Waste has partnered with Keep Monroe Beautiful for several youth education and outreach events
• Veteran Service Office — Served 521 clients, assisted in 92 claims, assisted with two Veteran Court graduations, Veteran Resource Fair and planned Korean War Ambassador Ceremonies, as well as attended regional meetings.
• Archives — Served 223 contacts from several states including Illinois in requests for records as well as indexing and preserving county history and records.
• Animal Shelter — Intakes were 559: 160 owner surrender, 150 strays, 237 animal control — 169 cats and 390 dogs, 222 wonderful adoptions, 248 rescued transferred and 27 animals returned to the owner. Offering a rabies clinic and spaying and neutering vouchers as community outreach.
• Dental Clinic served 613 patients averaging 14 per day and received 85 new patients for $75,169.10 in quarterly revenue. The Dental Clinic treated 13 inmates at the Monroe County Justice Center.
• EMS — Responded to 2,518 calls and transported 1,959 in a three-month period for collections of $944,418.66, an increase of $183,346.08 from the same quarter in 2021.
• Airport — Total visitors were 1,270. Fuel sales were 16,612.72 gallons for $113,000 plus $21,500 in hanger rentals. Assisting in new hanger ground lease to generate revenue as well as hosted multiple events in the quarter.
• Tourism — An estimated 2.4 million visitors for the quarter. 10,703 visitors to Monroe County Visitor Center in Tellico Plains alone for October-December. The Visitor Center Store collected $37,026 in sales and $22,479 from hotel/motel tax collection. Monroe County Tourism received a $7,000 marketing grant and $9,500 TDOT LoveTNByways Grant.
• EMA — Responded to numerous structure fires, wildland fires, motor vehicle accidents and Industrial Hazmat scenes, as well as attended and conducted multiple training sessions and completed various grant applications. Conducting and planning emergency drills including a natural gas exercise. Collaborated with TEMA and the Red Cross on a weekly basis. Upgrading Monroe County Disaster Trailer with equipment and technology. Continued to use social medial to inform our citizens of vital emergency and preparedness information daily.
• Information Technology — Focused on cybersecurity to safeguard the county’s assets. Upgraded various technology in buildings as well as normal troubleshooting calls. Maintained and updated county website as well as live-streamed various county meetings.
As always, it is a pleasure and an honor to serve as your Monroe County mayor. God bless.
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