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Dandridge, Tennessee

April 23, 2012 www.jeffersoncountypost.com

FRESHMAN ACADEMY COSTS
Underestimated Nearly $700,000 - Dockery Urges Investigation
Staff Photo / Dunking Booth at Saturday's S.E.T. Science & Energy Team's Earth Day Festival at White Pine School
 
Jefferson County Commission Debates Requests for Additional Funds from DOE
 
The Jefferson County Commission met for their Regular Quarterly Session on Monday, April16, 2012 at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse.  The Meeting was Called to Order by Commission Chairman Mills. Absent were Commissioners Barreiro, Maples and Hubbard.  The Agenda was Approved.

One citizen addressed the Commission regarding the need for a Fire Substation in the Swannsylvania Community.

A presentation was made to Mrs. Elizabeth Arnold in honor of her husband, former Commissioner Kenneth Arnold, for his service to the community.

Notaries and Bonds were Approved by Motion of Commissioner Scarlett and 2nd Commissioner Estes.

By recommendation of the Nominating Committee, the Commission Unanimously Approved the reinstatement of members of the County Board for Equalization who were ageing off of the Board. ( see Nominating Committee Article)

County Trustee Ginger Franklin addressed the Commission regarding the number of residents that had taken advantage of Elder Tax Relief. She stated that 139 new applications were submitted to the State and that $105,658 had been approved at this time. That number will increase if all applicants are qualified.

Director of Facilities Longmire stated that the Humane Society has been offered the opportunity to build a cat dwelling on the presently leased site, at no cost to the County and requested an amendment to the current lease to allow the building. Following a successful Motion to Suspend the Rules to allow a vote and Upon a Motion from Commissioner Tucker and 2nd from Estes the Commission Unanimously Approved the amendment to the lease.

Director of Schools Edmonds informed the Commission that, due to an oversight, the Department of Education will need an additional nearly $700,000 to fund the Freshman Academy Project. Edmonds stated that construction wages were not figured in compliance with the Davis Bacon Act which includes a prevailing wage for construction labor. The Director said that because Jefferson County chose bonds that were classified as Recovery Bonds or “SuperBabs”, there are wage mandates attached and they were not included in the original projected costs. He stated that there is a significant savings associated with the Recovery Bonds ($2,976,814) and that savings would not be the same had bonds been chosen that did not include wage requirements. According to Edmonds, the wages were not included because the Department of Education was unaware of the stipulations of that particular type of Bond. Commissioner Estes and Commissioner Dockery stated that an investigation needs to be conducted to find the inception of misinformation and to insure that there is no further break down in communication. Commissioner Carmichael stated that attorneys for the Construction Company probably have language that will put responsibility for the cost of the wage increase on the Department of Education. Commissioner Scarlett stated that there is an expectation of due diligence on the part of the Construction Company and inquired if the Contractor’s Contingency might be applied to the increased wage cost. Commissioner Tucker stated that the County Commission only approved a $16 million dollar bond. Jefferson County Mayor Palmieri stated that he felt that nothing had been intentionally or negligently done to create the current situation by any elected official or the School System. Director Edmonds did not request funding for the oversight but did state that funding would have to be addressed at a future time.

The Commission Approved recommendations from the Budget Committee which included non fund balance impacting amendments from the County and the School’s Federal and General Budgets. Budget Committee Chairman Scarlett brought a recommendation from the Committee to approve a transfer of $563,000 from the School’s Fund Balance to purchase new and used buses. $220,000 of that money will be held in a reserve account for the purchase of used buses. Commissioner Dockery inquired if the bidding process still applied with used buses and was told by Department of Education Director of Facilities, Maintenance and Capitol Projects Phagan that bids will still be taken on used buses. The recommendation Passed Unanimously.

Budget Chairman Scarlett brought a recommendation from the Committee to fund from School System fund balance $148,709 for gas and diesel for the remainder of the fiscal year. Several Commissioners questioned interest charges on the overdue gasoline balance.  The motion passed with a split vote.

The Budget Committee also recommended an additional $35,000 for Department of Education Legal fees to be taken from fund balance. The recommendation was Approved with Kesterson, Blevins, Scarlett, Dockery, Tucker and Carmichael voting No.

Upon a recommendation from Commissioner Carmichael and 2nd Kesterson the Commission voted to Approve Resolution 2012-18 for property rezoning along Hwy139 in Dandridge from R-1 to A-1.

Commissioner Estes moved to approve Resolution 2012-19 authorizing the use of Fund Balances ( $5 million) from various County funds for the construction, renovation, repair and equipping of school buildings and facilities located on the current Jefferson County High School Campus.
Commissioner Scarlett questioned the viability of moving 2 cents and Jefferson County Finance Director Helton stated that the Budget Committee will need to address the issue annually. The motion Passed with Blevins, Scarlett, Dockery, Tucker and Carmichael voting No.

County Attorney Drinnon informed the Commission that liquidation values were listed in the information recently discussed about the Jefferson Memorial Foundation. He stated that the County has already approved by laws and are awaiting word from Jefferson City. Further information regarding the Foundation should become available shortly.  The Meeting was Adjourned.


Beer Board Reinstates Sherman Oaks Campground & Amphitheatre Beer Permit

The Jefferson County Beer Board met on Monday, April 16, 2012 for at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse.

The Meeting was Called to Order by Chairman Mills. Absent were Commissioners Barreiro and Hubbard.

Upon a Motion from Solomon and 2nd from Patterson the Minutes from the previous meeting were Approved.

The Board was informed that the suspension time of Steve Palmer, permit holder d/b/a Sherman Oaks Campground & Amphitheatre, had expired and, having no further violations, his license was automatically reinstated.

Three applications were submitted for Approval. Robert Denton d/b/a Swann’s Marina was Approved for an On/Off Premises Permit upon a Motion from Tucker and 2nd Cureton.

Jeffery James McCree d/b/a Indian Creek Boat Dock at Waters End was Approved for an On/Off Premises Permit upon a Motion from Kesterson and 2nd Patterson.

Gary Devoe d/b/a Spinnakers Grille was Approved for an on Premises Permit upon a Motion from Solomon and 2nd Cureton.  The Meeting was Adjourned.

 

Jefferson County Budget Committee

Helton informs Committee that funds budgeted for bus purchases this fiscal year had been used to pay for past year’s.

The Jefferson County Budget Committee met on Monday, April 16, 2012 at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse in Dandridge.

The Meeting was Called to Order by Committee Chairman Scarlett. In for absent Committee Members Barreiro and Tabor were Commissioners Blevins and Baxley, respectively.

After discussion and vote, Jefferson County Director of Finance Helton was elected to the position of Secretary of the Budget Committee.

Upon a Motion by Committee Member Tucker and 2nd by Committee Member Estes the Committee Approved the Minutes of previous meetings.

Director Helton brought several Budget Amendments for consideration. Committee Member Estes made a Motion to Approve Amendments for the County, none of which were fund balance impacting. 2nd Solomon-Passed.

Committee Member Tucker made a Motion to Approve non fund balance impacting Federal School Budget Amendments or Auditor Adjustments. 2nd Kesterson-Passed

Director Helton informed the Committee that some of the remaining

Amendments were fund balance impacting for the Department of Education. The total requested impact was around $871,000 from School System Fund Balance.

Director of Schools Edmonds stated that the Department of Education was requesting $94,500 from School System Fund Balance to purchase property adjacent to Rush Strong School. He said that currently the School is landlocked and will need extra space should sewage problems arise. The property in question is in foreclosure and is the only property available that is adjacent to the school, per Director Edmonds. After a failed motion by Committee Member Tucker and 2nd Blevins to Approve the funding, the Department of Education will take the funds from the remaining money in the Capitol Outlay Note. The School Board will have a Called Meeting to Approve the Funding. Committee Chairman Scarlett stated that the School System’s fund balance is already encumbered for $ 3.4 million. The Department of Education currently has an unrestricted fund balance of $4,317,792. Total requests for fund balance approval totaled $1,881,209 including the renovation contribution at Jefferson County High School and the Rush Strong Property. Adjustments anticipated for the Davis Bacon wage increase for construction of the freshman academy ($700,000) leave the unencumbered balance of the school system fund balance at $1,736,583 of which $1,410,000 is the fund balance mandate by the State.

Helton informed the Committee that funds that were budgeted for bus purchases this fiscal year had been used to pay for the past year’s buses. Director of Transportation, Maintence and Capitol Projects Phagan stated that during the 2009-2010 fiscal year no buses were paid for. The buses ordered during that year were held and delivery was made as well as payment during the next fiscal year. Funds allotted for bus purchases during the 2009-2010 fiscal year rolled into fund balance. There is no clear reason for the decision to roll the funds instead of purchasing buses and the decision has left the transportation Department one fiscal year behind. Though buses that are currently purchased will not be ready for delivery until after the beginning of the school year, Phagan stated that he can get a 90 day extension on his retiring buses. The motion to Approve a request for $343,000 for 4 new buses and $220,000 for used buses was offered by Committee Member Solomon. 2nd Estes –Passed.

Committee Member Baxley made a Motion to Approve any amendments that were non fund balance impacting for the Department of Education. 2nd Turner-Passed.

Director of Schools Edmonds requested $35,000 for legal fees. He stated that the request would fulfill the Department of Education’s legal funding needs, as any remaining suits are covered by insurance. Motion to Approve was offered by Solomon and 2nd by Turner. Passed with a split vote.

The meeting recessed until after the Full Commission Meeting.

The Meeting reconvened to address the issue of Fire Department Funding. The recommendation from the Public Service Committee was to fund 4 substations (Strawberry Plains, 412 exit, Old Dandridge #2 and Swannsylvania) at the amount of $25,000 per substation. This would provide an improved ISO ( insurance ) rating and have a positive impact on home owner’s insurance for the entire County. The recommendation was made in Motion form by Public Service Committee Chairman Tucker. 2nd Kesterson. Failed with Solomon, Estes, Beeler, Tabor and Mills voting No.

Committee Member Estes made a Motion to include funding mechanism in the County Budget Process. 2nd Beeler- Motion Failed.

Committee Tucker offered a Motion to fund three substations for Strawberry Plains, Exit 412 and Swannsylvania. 2nd Blevins- Failed.

The Committee was informed that the County has a service credit of $12,000 from Appalachian Electric. After partial use for the new E-911 combination center, around $6,500 will still be available. Committee Member Solomon made a Motion to use the remainder on the new elementary school. Motion died for lack of 2nd.  Solomon made a motion to hold the credit. 2nd Beeler (withdrawn) Committee Member Beeler made a motion to use the credit at Mr Horeb Elementary School. 2nd Solomon-Passed.  The Meeting was Adjourned.


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