During the Metro Moore County Council’s December meeting, Moore County Mayor Sloan Stewart advised the council that the county had received a $6,000 planning grant. The grant is a result of the state’s shutting the doors on its official state planning office.
Within the state planning office, each county paid a variable rate to have a local planning agent at its disposal. When the state did away with that position, many of the programs were moved to other state agencies.
That in turn led to a void at the local level. To offset that personnel loss, counties were then allowed to apply for a grant to be used to make up for the cost of paying a private company to do what the local planning agent previously handled.
“When we needed planning answers, that’s who we called,” said Stewart. “You could use him down here for as many things as you needed. We could ask him a question every day, every week, every month. When they cut that person out, we had to find someone else.
“We have to ask questions to make sure we meet all the state requirements.”
The county now uses the Murfreesboro-based firm Griggs & Maloney, which is a civil and environmental engineering and environmental consulting service.
If county officials have a question about state regulations, they contact the private firm. Unfortunately, unlike the old state planning agent, Griggs & Maloney charges by the hour.
That’s where the grant money comes in.
“The money is used to hire a consultant,” said Stewart. “When the state cut the local planning agent out, the state allowed us to apply for the grant.”
The majority of the grant money has been used to thrash out rules and regulations for anyone who wants to apply for a subdivision. The county worked closely with the consulting firm to put together an up-to-date subdivision plan for future use.
During the same December council meeting, Stewart also said that the county received an $11,000 grant from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA). The TEMA grant was to aid in cleanup from storms that swept through the area in 2012.
Stewart said that part of those monies goes to the county and a portion goes to the highway department.
In additional business, it was announced that prior to this month’s meeting, which is scheduled for Jan. 21, there will be a public hearing to discuss the rezoning of a parcel of land on Cemetery Rd. There is a request to have the property returned to residential zoning.
The public hearing is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. at the American Legion building, with the regular Metro Council Meeting set to follow at 6:30 p.m.
By ROBERT HOLMAN (Robert Holman is the editor of the Moore County News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)