WC Public Safety to Create Opioid Abatement Committee

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By Shannon Taylor, Editor

The Weakley County  Public Safety Committee approved a Resolution to establish an opioid settlement committee on Monday, Jan. 8.

The opioid settlement committee will help to appropriate opioid abatement settlement funds received by the county. Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum spoke on the issue and said, “The University of Tennessee established through IPS, the same organization that CTAS operates under, a department that would help counties as well as other organizations assist them and advise them on how best to move forward through this process.”

Bynum said that there are two buckets of money–one bucket with fewer strings attached as to how those funds are used towards the county’s response to the opioid crisis and one with a lot of strings attached and can only be used for certain things and penalties associated with not using them properly. Bynum said that the latter funds total around $147K in funds already received. 

Bynum stated that the opioid advice through UT is to establish a committee to assist counties in making the appropriate appropriations of those funds. Bynum said that there would be four commissioners sitting on the committee as well as five members of the community that have some sort of tie to prescriptions or lived experience. The appointments will be brought through to the March commission meeting.

The committee also approved a budget amendment to the general fund. Circuit Clerk Courtney McMinn said that the AOC put out a grant application process for security grants for the courthouse across the state. “They have a new minimum standard that has come out and the grant was to try to get all the courthouses around the state back up to minimum standards,” McMinn stated.

McMinn said that the Weakley County courthouse did not meet those minimum standards due to the security system’s panic alarm system only allowing each office to have one panic button. The new minimum standard stated that each transaction clerk should have their own. McMinn said she applied for the grant and they received it.

“Now we will have 47 or 48 panic buttons throughout the courthouse. This grant will cover the expense for all of those. It also will cover two walk-through metal detectors,” McMinn said. 

The committee also approved Weakley County Sheriff Terry McDade the ability to determine if he wants to use inmates for outside labor and what to charge for the cost.

This comes after a new law was passed requiring all inmates who worked outside of the Sheriff’s Department to have GPS ankle monitors on. The cost to have those is $3.80 per day. McDade said that all of his personnel were sent to Jackson to be trained on how to use them and that training is complete.

Bynum stated that budget adjustments would be needed to set up a billing and collection process for Weakley County Government offices to continue using the inmates and this would need to go through this month’s HEED and Finance, Ways, and Means committees. 

HEED will meet Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 9 a.m. in the Weakley County courthouse and FWM will meet Thursday, Jan. 18 in the Weakley County Courthouse. 

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