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Dandridge, Tennessee

December 12, 2011

Motion To Fund JCHS Renovation Amount Fails in Committee
Staff Photo / Jefferson City Christmas Parade / JCHS Marching Band
No Recommendation For Renovation Funds 

The Jefferson County Budget Committee met on Monday, December 5, 2011 at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse.  The Meeting was Called to Order by Committee Chairman Scarlett.

Chairman Scarlett informed the Committee that a Secretary would need to be elected as Committee Member Turner resigned from the position and Director of Finance Helton was not a viable option. The Committee discussed several options, with most Committee members declining the position. Previously Helton had been appointed to the position through a motion. Committee Member Tucker made a Motion to resend Helton as Secretary. 2nd Musick-motion Passed ( Turner-No)

Committee Member Beeler made a Motion for Committee member Estes to serve as Secretary. 2nd Tucker-Passed (Turner-No)  After an amendment to the Minutes, they were Approved.

Director of County Finance Helton stated that he will be requesting an audited financial statement or receipts and expenditures from County funded non profits. 

Upon a Motion from Estes and 2nd by Turner the Committee unanimously approved $351,834 for Highway Paving to come from Highway Department Fund Balance. Per Helton and Highway Superintendent Tipton, this will not interfere with outside funding for the Highway Department and will secure funding slotted for paving, that will roll into a reserve fund for paving only should funds be left over at the end of the fiscal year.

Director of Transportation, Capitol Projects and Maintenance for the Department of Education Phagan informed the Committee that the County is at risk to be charged interest, at a high rate, for being in default of a payment to Trane, the Department of Education’s energy company. Director Helton stated that he did not feel that the County is in default due to inconsistencies in billing from Trane. The Committee instructed Phagan to negotiate with Trane and return with any offer that is made concerning late payment and interest savings.

Director of Jefferson County Schools Edmonds presented the Committee with a renovation package for Jefferson County High School for a total amount of $24,756,532. Edmonds, Phagan and Rentenbach representative Tony Pettit addressed the Committee regarding the particulars of the proposal. They requested $ 16,429,845 for renovations to the existing building including roofing, restrooms, HVAC, moving administrative offices between the outside entrance and the remainder of the school, electrical, fire sprinkler and up grades to meet current building codes. New classroom space for the Arts and Music Departments and a covered kitchen loading dock costing a total of $1,842,399. An auditorium, restroom and associated spaces addition for $3,540,000. Window and Door replacement for $322,500 and a student/bus drop off canopy for $200,000. The remainder coming in design fees, inspection and regulatory fees and furniture, fixtures and equipment.

The Committee was informed that a $250,000 inclusion for a track can be done on a staged basis, however something must be done before Spring or there can be no home track meets due to the condition of the track.

Committee Chairman Scarlett requested a further breakdown of costs attached to the Main Building Renovation. Dr. Edmonds informed the Committee that the move of administrative offices was not costly and was needed as a security measure.

Committee Member Turner made a Motion to postpone until a breakdown on particular information is available. 2nd Musick-Failed 7-3

Committee Member Beeler made a Motion to approve funding for the renovations on Jefferson County High School minus $322,500 for window and door replacement. 2nd Estes.

Committee Member Turner stated that doors and windows are one of the greatest sources of energy loss. Beeler and Estes amended their motion to state funding at the full requested level.

Committee Member Tucker stated that the plan was a good plan but that the cost was too high and that it was unfair to expect taxpayers to shoulder the cost of the renovation when some are barely able to meet their house payments. He estimated that it would require a 46 cent tax rate increase to fund the building program.

Beeler stated that it is the responsibility of Jefferson County citizens to educated the students of Jefferson County.

Committee Member Barreiro stated that the School System has already spent the funds designated for renovation of the High School on the new buildings and that the County cannot afford to fund the renovations. She said that the County has a responsibility to teach its children to spend within their means.

Committee Member Mills stated that 12 cents was already designated to the building program.

An amendment to reduce the amount of the track by $100,000 failed 6-4.

Beeler and Estes’ Motion to fund at the requested amount Failed with a 6-4 vote. ( Estes, Beeler, Solomon, Mills-Yes)  The Meeting was Adjourned.

Murder Suspect Arrested

Jefferson County Sheriff McCoig held a press conference on December 7, 2011 to request assistance from the public in locating Elizabeth Ann Mills. A Jefferson County resident, Mills was considered the prime suspect in the murder of a disabled man earlier in the week. William Buchanan, of Chucky Pike, was killed by a fatal blow to the head. According to the Sheriff, Buchanan had previously been the victim of a home invasion, however the Sheriff’s Department was confident that his death was not related to that crime. It is suspected that the attack was linked to prescription drugs. Buchanan, who was found by his son, was a pervious target of criminals seeking prescription drugs that Buchanan might have been taking due to his disability. Sheriff McCoig informed media outlets that Mills was thought to still be in the area and asked that citizens inform the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, should they have any knowledge of her whereabouts. Mills was arrested on Thursday, along with two accomplices after the fact, for Buchanan’s death. She is being charged with first degree murder. 

The District Attorney General, Tennessee Bureau of Investigations including their Crime Lab, the U.S. Marshals Office and the U.S. Marshall Recovery Team worked in conjunction with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department to gather evidence and locate Mills. The New Market Police Department was instrumental in the arrest of Mills and her accomplices. Sheriff McCoig offered his condolences to the victim’s family and acknowledged the contribution of, and his gratitude to, the various agencies involved in Mills arrest.

Secretary Hargett Announces Candidates for Tennessee’s March Presidential Primary

Secretary of State Tre Hargett announced the nine Republican candidates and one Democrat who are scheduled to compete in Tennesee’s March 6 presidential preference primary elections.

Secretary Hargett announced the candidates’ names during a State Election Commission meeting this afternoon.

The Republican candidates are: Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Charles “Buddy” Roemer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. The lone Democrat is President Barack Obama.

Any of the listed candidates who do not wish to participate in the Tennessee primaries have until noon Dec. 13 to withdraw, otherwise their names will appear on the ballot.

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December 12, 2011 Go To Page

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