Former Constable Scotty Harrell was elected to serve the year remaining on the term of Dale Selvidge at Monday night’s county commission meeting. Selvidge, who ran for sheriff last year, resigned in July citing health reasons. The position represents the 3rd constable district, which combines the county’s 2nd and 7th voting districts. Harrell and former Constable Jim Cantlon were both placed in nomination at this month’s commission work session. Second District Commissioner Robert Wetterau nominated Harrell, whom he said had previously served 12 years as a constable for the 2nd District before the number of constables was reduced from 12 to six by combining districts. Seventh District Commissioner Carl Buckner nominated Cantlon, whom he said had previously served two terms as constable in the 7th District. At Monday night’s meeting, Buckner again placed Cantlon’s name in nomination, but the motion died when no other commissioner would offer a second. Wetterau then nominated Harrell, with a second from Cotton Dawson. The commission voted 10-1 to elect Harrell with Buckner casting the lone dissenting vote and Commissioner Benny Spencer absent. Mayor Bob Rial said Harrell would be given the oath of office once he meets the position’s bond requirements.
Dickson County’s new voting district map got its final approval Monday night but not without a complaint over the restrictions placed on the process. Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the new district lines to bring all 12 of the county’s voting districts in line with population requirements from the 2010 census. But 2nd District Commissioner Robert Wetterau fired one final shot at the process saying he wants to register his complaint on the way the district lines were drawn, saying the county commission should have the authority to set the boundaries as it sees fit. At the first Redistricting Committee meeting, Wetterau attempted to have the 2nd District line moved in order to keep Road Commissioner Gary Dotson in the district he was elected to represent last year. But other commissioners objected to the changes, which were not included in the final map. Wetterau said he objects to being forced to use population blocks established by the Bureau of the Census, instead of being able to draw the lines wherever the commission wants. The 2nd and 3rd districts underwent some of the more dramatic changes as the boundary now becomes the railroad line through Tennessee City, with voters north being moved into the 3rd District. Highway 48 North also becomes a boundary of the 3rd and 4th districts, dividing Cumberland Furnace between the two. With the map’s final approval, the Dickson County Election Commission will now begin the process of reviewing the county’s polling places to see if any changes need to be made for voter convenience and then will begin notifying all voters whose districts or voting places have been changed. The new districts take effect Jan. 1 and will be in place for the presidential preference primary set for March 6.
The Dickson County Sheriff’s Office will be getting a new motorcycle after narrowly getting enough votes at Monday night’s county commission meeting. Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe says he plans to use the 2012 Harley-Davidson in increased traffic enforcement as well as part of a road safety program to help reduce the number of traffic wrecks in the county. The proposal to use 25,000 dollars in drug fund money to buy the motorcycle got the minimum number of votes required for passage as commissioners voted 7-4 with one member absent at their monthly session Monday. Commissioners voting against the proposal were Randy Hogin, Booty Reed, Linda Hayes and Cotton Dawson. Reed said he doesn’t have a problem with the program, but has reservations about using the funds for something new when the county has been ‘hammered by the state’ on staffing the newly expanded jail. Other commissioners questioned what other purposes the drug fund money can help offset. In the past few years, drug fund money has been used to purchase patrol cars as well as some equipment for the jail and to support the county’s drug court. Bledsoe said the drug fund money can be used for any non-recurring expenses in law enforcement and specifically in drug investigations. It cannot be used to fund salaries. Commissioner Robert Wetterau asked the sheriff to prepare a list of what specifically drug fund money can be spent on. ‘We may want to divert some money from that fund to other things,’ Wetterau said. Bledsoe said he also is researching the possibility of using drug funds to secure grants for cameras in the future.