Purple Potty Seen In Jefferson County

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Dandridge, Tennessee

April 16, 2012 www.jeffersoncountypost.com

How are Taxpayer Dollars Divided?
Staff Photo / American Cancer Society Relay for Life / Lockup For Life Booth at Jefferson City Walmart
Jefferson County will reach the close the 2011-2012 fiscal year on June 30, 2012 and preparations for the next fiscal year are already underway. The current division of property, sales and hotel/motel tax that is generated in the County will be in the spotlight during the budgeting process. Jefferson County residents are paying a property tax rate of $2.05 per $100 and a sales tax rate of 2.75% local option and 7% State of Tennessee. Certain food items enjoy specific partial exemptions. Jefferson County also gains revenue through the hotel/motel tax and the wheel tax. Revenue that is generated through the various forms of tax collection is allocated for use in multiple funds within the County . The $2.05 property tax split the majority of funds between the County General Fund (.81 cents) and the General Purpose School Fund (.62 cents). The Highway Department receives .19cents and the Sinking Fund & Interest Account, commonly referred to as the Debt Service Account, receives .23 cents. The remaining .20 cents is split between Capitol Projects (.05 cents) and Pickup Service (.15 cents). During the current fiscal year, one penny in property tax is expected to provide approximately $117,000. The amount of revenue generated per penny will fluctuate from year to year.

While property tax provides the majority of revenue for the County, sales tax is healthy and is , in fact, exceeding the State and National benchmarks. The lion’s share of the sales tax is budgeted to the School System, however the County was projected to receive around $950,000 in the 2011-2012 budget projections. 2010 numbers showed Jefferson County generating over $8 million in local option sales tax. Tennessee requires that the local School System receive 50% of the local option sales tax and that the location that the sale occurred receive 50%. The County generates its revenue from sales tax through sales outside of the local municipalities and by receiving 25% of the city’s revenue taken. True numbers for 2011-2012 will not be available until the close of the fiscal year. The monies that are received for the County portion of the sales tax will be funneled into the Debt Service Fund. Also in the Debt Service Fund is the Wheel Tax, which is projected to generate a little over $1 million during the current fiscal year. Those funds generated by the Wheel Tax are designated to pay for School Debt, though they are contained in the County Debt Service Fund. In addition, the County Debt Service Fund contains the Adequate Facilities/Development Tax. The University of Tennessee’s County Technical Assistance Service, which routinely provides guidance in the local government, lists Jefferson County as one of four Counties in the State that have a School Facilities Tax rather than an Adequate Facilities Tax. CTAS information provides that the School Facilities Tax in Jefferson County is $1 per residential square foot and that the funds generated from this tax must be used for education capitol projects. This tax was projected to provide an estimated $220,000 in the current fiscal year. The Hotel/Motel Tax is currently budgeted to the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and EDOC.

County funds are designated for particular purpose, with the exception of the General Fund, and the monies assigned to those funds must be used for the intended purpose.

The various County Departments are already in the process of preparing their Budgets for review of the County Budget Committee, which will have a series of meeting to review their proposals.

Partially Africanized Bees Found in East Tennessee

Citizens should be vigilant but not alarmed

Tennessee’s first case of partially Africanized bees was confirmed through genetic testing last week in a colony belonging to a beekeeper in Monroe County. The colony has been depopulated and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is working with beekeepers in the area to determine if other bees could have been affected.

State Apiarist, Mike Studer, says it is no surprise that partially Africanized bees have made their way to Tennessee considering they have already been found in other states such as Texas, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida. “I’m actually surprised it’s just now happening. We have been expecting this for some time,” Studer said. “Citizens need to be vigilant, but there’s no need to overreact. This is a situation that can be effectively managed through good beekeeping practices.

“We will be working with beekeepers to monitor their hives and to look for any signs of other aggressive bees in the area.”

Test results show that genetically, the bees were less than 17 percent Africanized, far less than the 50 percent considered by USDA to be truly Africanized. The bee colony was purchased by the beekeeper last year from an out-of-state dealer.

The most important difference between an Africanized honey bee and our domestic European honeybee is their behavior. Africanized bees are much more aggressive, defend their nests more fiercely and in greater numbers and are more likely to defend the nest when threatened by predators or adverse environmental conditions. But, the sting from a single Africanized bee is no more venomous than a European honey bee.

Africanized bees tend to colonize in smaller spaces than the docile European honeybee. Therefore, if you see honeybees in the ground, or in small openings such as flower pots or bluebird houses leave them alone and call the state apiarist immediately to assess the situation. Bees do not try to hurt people, they simply defend their territory.

If you do disturb an Africanized honeybee colony, follow these steps to protect yourself.
1. Run.
2. Cover your head with your shirt or jacket while running because Africanized bees tend to sting the face and head.
3. Never stand still or get boxed into a place outdoors where you cannot escape the attack.
4. Seek immediate shelter in an enclosed building or vehicle. Isolate yourself from the bees.
5. Do not attempt to rescue a victim without the proper protective gear and training. Doing so could make you the second victim.

State law requires all beekeepers register their colonies with the TDA and to update their registration every three years. Once registered, the state apiarist is able to contact beekeepers in the event of a disease outbreak or aerial pesticide spraying in their area. Registration also gives the beekeepers the opportunity for free inspections to make sure their colonies are healthy. Registration can be done online.

For more information on TDA’s Apiary Section or to register a bee colony, visit www.TN.gov/agriculture/regulatory/apiary.html

Jefferson County Residents Paying Price for Mild Winter
Allergy Season Extended
Many Jefferson County residents are paying the price for a mild Winter, in the form of an extended allergy season. Pollen counts have registered high or extremely high since early March and the abundance of pollen has local allergy sufferers reaching for the tissue and over the counter medications. Other weather events, besides the mild Winter, are contributors to the allergy season. Pollen counts rise on windy days and rain only bring relief from tree pollen if it is a strong downpour and lasts more than a few minutes. Though extended rain can bring some tree pollen relief, it increases the mold count during the warm months. Allergy symptoms are commonplace in East Tennessee and, in fact, Knoxville was named one of the worst locations for those with allergy and asthma problems. The situation is exacerbated by the sometimes poor local air quality. Around 40 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. It is the leading chronic condition among children and accounts for more than 8 million out patient physician’s visits in the Spring and Fall. The annual cost of allergies

Jefferson Memorial Foundation - County Commission Work Session

Key points of negotiation - obligation for public and open meetings, as well as conflicts of interest.

Staff Photo

The Jefferson County Commission held their Regular Quarterly Work Session on April 9, 2012 at the Historic Jefferson Count Courthouse. The Meeting was Called to Order by Commission Chairman Mills. Absent from Roll Call were Commissioners Baxley, Patterson, Cureton, Griffith, Barriero and Blevins.

One Citizen addressed the Commission regarding the residence of a Commissioner and the Commission’s recent vote on the renovation of Jefferson County High School.

Commissioner Scarlett addressed comments reported in the local media and questions regarding the motivation of his inquiries during the most recent voting meeting of the body. Scarlett stated that he had requested access to information that he considered pertinent about aspects of the proposal for the renovation to Jefferson County High School and had not received it before the voting meeting, thus his concerns were expressed preceding the vote.

Jefferson County Facilities Director Longmire informed the Commission that the Humane Society had received a grant to build on the current site, which is leased, and the County Attorney will make appropriate adjustments to the lease. It will be presented to the Commission.

It was reported that the County Finance Committee meeting had been rescheduled. Neither the Budget Committee, nor the Facilities Committee, had convened since the last meeting. Public Service Committee Chairman Tucker reported that the Committee is in the process of looking into a “Dirty Lot” ordinance that would address the most pressing issues in the County.

Under Items for Information, Commissioner Dockery stated that Parrott’s Chapel Fire Department had recently had nine members complete training, making a total of 11 certified members of the department. He said that they will host a graduation ceremony and fundraiser on April 28th and invited the Commission and public to attend.

Commissioner Beeler inquired as to the state of the Jefferson Memorial Foundation funds. County Attorney Churchwell stated that negotiations were ongoing with Jefferson City, who is a partner with the County in the Foundation, to establish a Charter. Key points of negotiation have been the status of the Foundation in regard to its obligation for public and open meetings, as well as conflicts of interest. Director of Jefferson County Finance Helton stated that it had been difficult to get information about the funds that are associated with the foundation because it is not, yet, in the name of the County or the City. St. Mary’s is still the owner of the account and will be until a charter is agreed upon by the County and Jefferson City. Information will not be available until the account has been transferred.

Commissioner Estes presented the Commission with a Resolution for funding the remaining $5 million Dollars needed to complete funding for the Jefferson County High School renovation. The Resolution included earmarking $2.8 million from the Hospital Reserve Fund, $1,010,000 from the General Purpose School Fund and $1,190,000 from the General Debt Service Fund. Four options were presented to the Commission from the Finance Department for the financing of the bond amount of $20,145,000 for the renovation, both in combination with the E-911 combination facility and the renovation as a stand alone project. The Meeting was Adjourned.

is estimated to be $7 billion per year. Allergy Suffers have nearly 4 million missed or lost work days annually at a cost of $700 million dollars in lost productivity. The FDA suggests staying indoors as much as possible during peak allergy times. In the Spring, early evening is the most difficult time for those afflicted by seasonal allergies and during the summer months the worst time of the day is morning. Beyond allergy testing and medication, the FDA suggests keeping hair and clothing clean and showering before bedtime. Using air conditioning in the house and car, rather than opening windows, may have a positive impact on allergy attacks. Unfortunately for some, allergy season means a trip to the physician. With the days remaining warm and no extended freeze on the horizon, locals may just have to ride out the 2012 allergy season. Though tree pollen is leading the list of local irritants, grasses and weeds will soon be considered peak and then, as any East Tennessee resident knows, Winter becomes the allergy sufferers saving grace.

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April 16, 2012 Go To Page

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