|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company
County debates tobacco free policy
Trinity Standard -
GROVETON – While smoking has long been banned inside the courthouse and other county-owned buildings, Trinity County commissioners are now debating and enough tougher tobacco free policy. While no action was taken during their meeting Monday, commissioners discussed setting designated smoking areas to control where employees and visitors can smoke on county property. Commissioners have previously considered and rejected a total ban on tobacco use on all county property. During a discussion at their Oct. 10 meeting, Pct. 1 Commissioner Grover “Tiger” Worsham said smoking outdoors should be permitted but agreed designated areas should be established. “Cigarette smoke does bother me inside buildings, but I have never had a problem with it outdoors,” Worsham said. During Monday’s meeting, Worsham noted that he has gotten complaints from the public similar to those received by County Judge Doug Page. Those complaints did not deal with problems encountered from cigarette smoke, but from the appearance of county employees gathering around courthouse and county jail doors smoking. Page suggested Monday that a gazebo could be erected between the courthouse and jail for use by smokers but Sheriff Ralph Montemayor said that would create problems for the radio dispatch operators working in the jail. He noted that the county can only afford to have one dispatcher on duty at any given time. Right now, the dispatchers take their lunch breaks while sitting in the dispatch room. “They also are entitled to four breaks during the day, and if they are smokers, they have been taking those breaks while standing just outside by the jail’s side entrance,” he said. Montemayor said by standing there, they can smoke a cigarette while continuing to monitor the sheriff’s department radios and telephones. The sheriff said that unless the county can hire additional jail staff to fill in for the dispatchers while they are on break, the area around the side jail entrance would have to be designated as a smoking area. He noted that those who have complained about the dispatchers standing by that door while smoking may not realize why that is happening. Page told commissioners he will continue to research the situation and report back at future meetings. Trinity lot eyed During the meeting, commissioners also considered what to do with a 1.22-acre lot located at the corner of Lakeview and Orr streets in Trinity. The lot was formally used as the Precinct 2 equipment yard but because that precinct no longer operates a road and bridge department, it has not been used by the county for several years. For the past five years, Precinct 2’s roads have been maintained under a contract with Pct. 3 Commissioner Cecil Webb. Pct. 2 Commissioner Rich Chamberlin said the county has the option of keeping the lot for future use, selling it or donating it back to the City of Trinity. Chamberlin said his research revealed the property was given to the county by the city in 1963 after the city had seized it for non-payment of taxes dating back to 1913. He noted it is located next to the city’s equipment yard and that the city has expressed interest in getting it back. Page noted it might be possible to trade the land for property owned by the city closer to the city limits. Chamberlin agreed to contact city officials to see if a trade was possible. Other business During the meeting, commissioners also: • Gave Chamberlin permission to discuss a County Government Works pilot program with Trinity High School officials. The program is sponsored by the National Association of Counties and is designed to help familiarize students with how county government operates. • Approved a resolution designating October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Trinity County, • Approved a resolution in support of the Martin Senior Center in Trinity, which is applying for grant funds. In the resolution, the county confirmed that it currently provides $4,000 per year to help support the center.