Knox County commissioners vote on two public health proposals at Monday meeting

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KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) – Knox County commissioners voted on two proposals concerning public health Monday night.

The topic has continued to be a focal point of commission discussions and public forums in recent weeks.

Advisory Committee on Health and Economic Well-Being

Commissioners passed a resolution to establish a Knox County Advisory Committee on Health and Economic Well-Being. The 11 member group will serve as an advisory to the county mayor and commission.

Several commissioners voiced their differing opinions on the resolution and on public health.

“We have everything that is here, we have it all at our fingertips. To create something new before you engage in something that we have, is not better government, it is substitute government,” said Chairman Larsen Jay.

“This is just another tool in his arsenal, or our arsenal in that case, to have a better, more information, or even a different opinion,” said sponsoring commissioner Kyle Ward.

“I would like to see our city mayor involved in this too and not just be one-sided to Knox County mayor, because we have to work together,” said Commissioner Dasha Lundy.

During discussion, Commissioner Courtney Durrett addressed the topic of the Board of Health.

“I will leave you with the words of my 7-year-old. We need to be safe, respectful, responsible, and kind,” Durrett said.

Commissioners voted in favor of the resolution 8-2-1. Commissioner Terry Hill passed on voting.

Board of Health Public Forum

County commission also considered, on first reading, an ordinance that proposes a change to how the Board of Health meets.

It requests the health board hold public forum in the same way County Commission does, at every meeting.

“Logistically it’s a challenge. They’ll step up to it. I know they will. They’re willing to hear from the public,” said Dr. Martha Buchanan.

“So that the people have a voice and can voice their opinions to a body that’s making regulations for the people,” Commissioner Ward said.

The ordinance passed 8-3 on first reading. It will come back before commission for a second reading at their next meeting.

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