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Commission approves interlocal agreement with Johnson City


Staff Writer

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During the Washington County Commission’s Monday night meeting, the commission approved a resolution to execute the interlocal agreement between the county and Johnson City while also receiving an announcement from Larry England that the September commission meeting would be his last.

The interlocal agreement includes that the county would pay the city $12.5 million over a 25-year period, $500,000 a year. The resolution passed in a 8-5-1 vote. Commissioners Bryan Davenport, Greg Matherly, Larry England, Freddie Malone, Suzy Williams, Phil Carriger, Jodi Jones and Jim Wheeler voted in favor. Commissioners Kent Harries, Steve Light, Jerome Fitzgerald, Danny Edens and Mike Ford were opposed. Commissioner Robbie Tester abstained and Commissioner Gary McAllister’s seat was vacant.

The agreement says the county and city came up with the funding plan following the county’s interlocal agreement with the Town of Jonesborough to build a Jonesborough K-8 school with athletic and recreational facilities. Because the county — which by state law is required to share school construction project funds with city school systems in the same county  — is not borrowing funds for the project, the plan to build a Jonesborough School with the Town of Jonesborough did not include sharing funds with the Johnson City School System.

Commission chairman Greg Matherly said during the April 27, live-streamed meeting that one reason the interlocal agreement came back to the commission for a second vote was to make sure there were no “procedural issues” regarding attachments to the agreement. The commission voted to delay action on the agreement in a 14-0-1 vote on April 27. 

“I would like the commission to have a little more opportunity than what they’ve had to review it,” Matherly said in April. “That way we do have a few more days to review it and send it through the proper procedural ways we would send it.”

Meanwhile, during the new business portion of the meeting, England announced to the commission that he would be stepping down from his role as commissioner because he would be moving out of District 7.

“If everything goes as planned, my wife Debbie and I should be moving at the end of September,” England told the commission. “We’ll still be in Johnson City, but unfortunately, I will not remain in the district of which I was elected to serve. Therefore, September will be my last meeting with the commission. 

“I hate that I can’t fulfill my obligation for the next two years, but it’s just time for us to downsize and make this change. It’s been an honor to serve. I enjoyed it greatly. It’s been very educational and sometimes entertaining.”

The next country commission will hold its committee meetings on Thursday, Sept. 3, at the courthouse in Jonesborough. The next full commission meeting will be held on Monday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. at the George Jaynes Justice Center, 108 W Jackson Blvd #1210, Jonesborough.