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Safety concerns arise in budget discussions

Published: 10:18 AM, 07/09/2013 Last updated: 10:19 AM, 07/09/2013

Author: Rick Hooper
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

NEWPORT-Rafting and fire safety became major topics of discussion as the Cocke County Legislative Body's Finance Committee continued work on the 2013-14 fiscal year budget.

On the agenda were budgets for the Cocke County Sheriff's Department, Fire Department, EMA and Public Safety.

Discussions for the Fire Department and Public Safety budgets, however, turned toward safety issues.

Concerning the Public Safety budget, in particular rafting safety, Committee member Michael McCarter posed questions concerning an alleged incident recently where a rafting company ignored the county's closing of the Pigeon River due to high and unusually swift water conditions.

"We've had bad weather and up to 19 inches more than normal rainfall," said McCarter. "There was an issue where the river officer gave an order for rafters not to enter the water. One company defied the order.

"I don't want to tell businesses how to operate but, when it's a matter of public safety, it concerns me that a rafting owner would question an order given by EMA or whomever. They need their license suspended and to be punished. We need to protect the county from liability."

For more details, please see the Tuesday edition of the Newport Plain Talk.

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