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Current Economics Swayed One Putnam Commissioner

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

One Putnam County Commissioner who voted against every purchase of land around the Justice Center Monday night said the current economic situation made the decision for her.

District Four Representative Theresa Tayes said investing money right now did not make sense.

“We’re in trying times right now,” Tayes said. “We need to think about the people that we represent here and that’s in this county. We need to watch how we spend our money. Some things I just feel like can be put off for a while until we see how things are going to end up.”

Tayes voted against the purchase of all five parcels Monday night. The county wants the land to provide parking around the Justice Center and Jail expansion. Commissioners approved the purchase of some $888,000 in land around the Cookeville City Square. The land will provide roughly 145 parking spaces. More than 500 are needed for the expansion.

After the tornado and COVID, Tayes said she could not support the project right now.

“It’s a timing issue, not the time for all this money to be spent,” Tayes said. “People are having hard times right now due to this pandemic and the tornado damage and all that. We need to be worrying about these people who are struggling. And I do worry about that. I represent those people.”

Tayes said she would like to see the expansion move forward in a more gradual fashion.

“How I think it ought to be handled, is just slowly and gradually, not all at one time,” Tayes said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen in the next year or two. You know, it could be worse than what it is now. So we need to be prepared for that.”


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