Washington Co. Commission calls special session to vote on Jonesborough School Plan


JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL)- The Washington County Commission will meet in a special session to discuss and take action on the Jonesborough School Plan.

“We expect an up or down vote and its a lease that will not lead to increased taxes. I think its a fair lease for all three parties. So, I expect the county commissioners to support it,” said Jonesborough Mayor Chuck Vest.

In just one week- Jonesborough could get the green light for a new K-8 school. The one thing that Washington County Commission chairman Greg Matherly says has held up the commission’s final vote- a finalized lease.

“The county attorney does have the lease, the county’s representatives do. Hopefully we can get that posted up to the county’s website tomorrow so that the public can view the lease and that will give the commission the time to view the lease as well,” says Greg Matherly, Washington County’s commission chair.

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A 20-30 year lease agreement is something the commission will need to have time to review.

“Once we see the lease, we will have the opportunity for each one of us to consider those terms and be able to cast a vote that evening,” says Matherly

This comes after controversy with the Johnson City Schools board of education on the sharing of funds.

SEE MORE: Jonesborough school proposal brings controversy amid excitement

That lease is something Vest has been working on since he announced this plan August 15th.

PREVIOUS STORY: Joint workshop focuses on future of Jonesborough school

“It was important to us to go through and have some cost savings to build this structure more economically and we were going to share in those costs 50/50 or any of the savings and we’ve conceded to the county any savings we realize constructing this school will all go towards the county,” said Vest.

A process Vest says has been give and take.

Vest says, “another concession that our town made was that we wanted to have the final say on the final construction drawing because we are going to be taking out the loan. But, we conceded to give the school board and the county the right to approve and recommend revisions.”

But overall – he says this is something that could have a major impact on Washington County for years to come.

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“Our hope is after 30 [years], of course these facilities would be owned by the county and they’ll turn that over to the school board but we expect to continue to be partners after that 20 years and operating these park facilities,” says Vest.

If the commission votes to enter into the lease to own agreement, a design committee will be in the works with members of the school board, county commission and people from the town of Jonesborough.

The special called session will be next Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Justice Center.

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