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Town approves assessment to better meet area needs

An assessment is now in the works to enable the Jonesborough Community Chest to have a better understanding of community needs.
Recently reactivated and under the direction of Alderman Adam Dickson, the Community Chest is a local need-based assistance organization.
As the town recognized United Way at its monthly board meeting Aug. 11, Dickson said everyone was reminded of the wonderful things the United Way does for the community.
But only one of their 17 programs addresses the Town of Jonesborough, or other parts of Washington County.
Dickson said people living in such parts of the county as South Central, Limestone and Telford are struggling and can utilize help of some sort.
“We want to strengthen this partnership with United Way,” he said.
To help identify the needs of the community, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a community needs assessment proposal with the Applied Social Research Lab of East Tennessee State University.
The BMA approved the use of up to $6,500 from the Town’s Resident and Customer Information budget to support the assessment.
“The town is providing sort of a seed or a start-up amount for the initial needs assessment,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe said. “We feel like being good stewards of the public trust and interest is a worthwhile goal. I commend Alderman Dickson for his desire to focus on the community needs and applaud the staff for working to compile the option for us.
“I encourage you board (members), to take this leap of faith in our new organization and help them identify the needs in our community.”
The proposal includes two focus groups, a general population survey, a written report of the findings and two presentations upon completion of the project.
The focus group will target individuals in the community, as well as businesses, nonprofits and community group leaders. The focus groups will run up to 90 minutes.
Once the data is collected from the focus groups, themes will be used to develop a survey. The Applied Social Research Lab will randomly select 2,500 households of Telford, Limestone, Fall Branch and Jonesborough to participate in the survey.
According to Dr. Kelly Foster, ETSU Applied Social Research Lab director, the recruitment efforts for the focus groups will begin within two weeks of the acceptance of the proposal.
The survey is estimated to be in the field for approximately four weeks. The data analysis and report writing will take two weeks to complete.
Town Administrator Bob Browning said before the Jonesborough Community Chest receives its 501c3 designation, the chest will not be a recipient organization for funds.
He said it will be a pass-through agency. The United Way will add the Jonesborough Community Chest as one of the agencies to which the community can make a donation.
When individuals donate money, Dickson said they can designate certain funds come back to the Jonesborough Community Chest.
“The board would then be able to allocate those funds to the different causes,” he said.
The members of the Jonesborough Community Chest include the Town of Jonesborough; Jonesborough Civitan Club; Washington County Library; Jonesborough Farmers Market,who is discussing a nutrition program; Jonesborough Kiwanis Club; Jonesborough Head Start; Washington County Schools; Jonesborough Senior Center; Jonesborough McKinney Center; Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association; Community Help Center; UMOJA and Tuesday Garden Club.
In other business:
Those convicted of a traffic citation in Jonesborough will now pay a $5 electronic fee due to the BMA approving the final reading of the ordinance.
Alderman Terry Countermine made the motion and Alderman Homer G’Feller seconded the motion during last Monday night’s meeting.
The ordinance states that municipal governments using electronic citation equipment can charge the fee “for each traffic citation in which there is a plea of guilty, nolo contendere or judgment of guilty.”
The citation fee will be terminated in five years from the adoption date. The electronic citation fee is a piece of legislature that passed this year to help agencies implement and maintain electronic citation programs.
The BMA also approved a list of 89 fines during its July meeting associated with traffic violations. Those fines range from failure to report a crash to texting while driving and illegally passing another vehicle.
The BMA approved the final reading for the incidental home occupation ordinance during last week’s meeting. The ordinance allows someone who does not have a tremendous customer base to work from their home and earn some extra income.
A home occupation permit application will be approved by the Jonesborough Regional Planning Commission.
According to the ordinance, “the home occupation shall not utilize more than one-third the area of the principal building or a maximum of 500 square feet.
The calculation is based on livable space, and the home occupation area includes any storage space for any related materials or products.”
The ordinance further states that one additional person, who is not a resident, may be employed for the business.