A request from the Gay Community Center raised serious concerns at the March 5 meeting of the Jackson County Commission.

Wanda Brewer, representing the center, submitted a bid for $11,500 for installation of a HVAC/AC system. The center will be able to add $6000 to help with additional cost.

“We are actually operating illegally due to the current system we have in place,” she said. “It was fine when we put it in, but the gas company is threatening to shut us down. We currently have space heaters.”

When it was pointed out that the bid submitted was two years old, Brewer responded that the reason for this was because the bid was originally submitted two years ago. To her knowledge nothing had been addressed by the commission regarding the center’s need in this area. The Commission repaired the roof a few years ago.

“We raise money constantly to keep the place going,” Brewer said. “It takes about $2,000 a year to keep going with utilities and maintenance.”

With gospel sings and other events, the center’s volunteers have raised over $30,000 for various projects since 2006. The majority of the improvements have been completed with volunteer labor.

“I will be back with the proper bid,” Brewer said. “We are continuing to improve your property but we need help this time. I won’t let it go another two years.”

It was pointed out that the building serves as a polling place and is used for many events.

“We will consider the request,” President Dick Waybright said. “But we need an updated bid.”

Commissioners also heard from IT Manager Greg Thomas on security and other matters.

“We pretty much have a B+ rating,” Thomas said. “That is one of the highest in the state. To be higher than that would require an investment of several thousands of dollars.”

Ransomware is one of the issues facing many businesses, organizations, and county governments. Thomas reported that the Cisco protection software used by the county is working very well.

“From Feb. 24-March 1, it blocked 1,600 malware attempts,” he said. “I have great confidence in our security and protection.”

Thomas informed commissioners that the county is already compliant with the new Senate Bill 241 which requires off site storage of information and materials.

In other business, commissioners:

• T-Mobile has turned on its portion of the service on the Sandyville cell tower; negotiations are in progress with AT&T.

• The Commission approved and executed a 2020 grant application for playground equipment for the Rocky Knob Community Building for $7,853 through the Jackson County Community Foundation

• An annual contract with the PWW Client Connect for Jackson County EMS in the amount of $6,000 was approved.

• The resignation of fairgrounds maintenance worker Conner Ranse Gandee effective March 5, 2020, was acknowledge by the Commission.

After a lengthy closed-door executive session for legal matters, the commission adjourned with no further action. The nest meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. on March 11, at the county courthouse.

A budget work session was to be held at 1 pm. The commission previously met on March 3 for 2020-21 budget discussion. An additional work session occurred on March 6.