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Dandridge, Tennessee

February 28, 2011

www.jeffersoncountypost.com


700 Student High & New Elem School vs. JCHS
Final Score $26.7 - $0
The Jefferson County School Board convened for a special called meeting on February 21, 2011 (6:30 P.M.) at the JCHS media Center.
Chairman Ann Marie Potts Called the meeting to order.
Randy Rogers, athletic director at Jefferson County High School, addressed the Board. Rogers stated that he did not intend to request funds for the JCHS track team at this time.
The Board received enrollment updates. Jefferson County is on target with projections for the current school year. A notable drop in Kindergarten enrollment (down 25) was discussed. Potts stated that the Board receives updated enrollment every year for informational purposes. Current enrollment projections will not be revised.
Photograph: JCHS Interior Ceiling
The Board heard recommendations from the Director of Schools, Dr. Charles Edmonds, regarding allocating funds from the $10.7 million dollar bond. Edmonds proposed purchasing property from Albert and Celeste Blackburn for the purpose of a centralized elementary school. 15 acres at a cost of $14,500 per acre would be located on East Dumplin Valley, which according to Dr. Edmonds is near the geographical center of the county. 8 additional acres could be purchased if necessary.
Board member Soloman made a motion to purchase the Blackburn property and Board member Vines 2nd the motion. The motion passed 5-1 with Board member Bradley voting “No”. 
Bradley put a motion on the table to add additional classrooms to Talbott Elementary School but withdrew the motion due to questions regarding the sewer capacity.
Board member Phagan made a motion to use the $16 million dollar bond allocated for a new high school construction to build a 700 student high school 1 to 3 miles from Jefferson County High School (which could share athletic facilities).
Board member Annette Loy’s attempt to amend the motion to build the new facility on Jefferson County High School Property (adjacent to current building) died for lack of a 2nd. Phagan’s motion passed 5-1-1 with Bradley voting “No” and Loy abstaining.
In other Other Business, Dr. Edmonds is still in the process of obtaining information including design and pricing on renovations to Jefferson County High School. He is also preparing the budget for the new school year.

Pictured : Tucker, Griffin, Helton, Steve Marion (Standard Banner), Mayor Palmieri

Revenue Stream Committee
Mayor Alan Palmieri called a meeting of the Revenue Stream and Source Committee on February 23, 2011 (6:30 P.M.) at the Jefferson County Courthouse.
In attendance were Commissioners Griffin (Chairman of Finance Committee), Tucker, Finance Director Darrell Helton and Mayor Palmieri. The remaining members of the committee were unable to attend due to prior commitments. 
Mayor Palmieri began by stating that his purpose in calling the meeting was to look at additional avenues of revenue for Jefferson County. Palmieri then suggested that the committee set a time frame of 1 hour to 
discuss their business.  Handouts were provided by the Mayor which noted 12 avenues of funding he would like to explore. 
On the list were:
  1. Tax on Trailers – i.e. tax on trailers that haul equipment such as lawn mowers etc...
  2. Mobile Home Tax – tax on mobile homes that are rented or sit on rented property.
  3. Non-Resident Accident Fee – fee to recover cost of providing service such as police and ambulance to non residents.
  4. Building Fee in place of “Adequate Facilities Tax” – a fee charged and collected up front.
  5. Mineral Tax – i.e. Mines
  6. Naming Rights – Sell the rights to name buildings and streets after Business or individuals.
  7. Utility Tax for Schools – ½ to 1% tax on utilities to go directly to schools.
  8. Realty Transfer Fee – fee paid upon the transfer of real estate.
  9. Entertainment Fee Tax – Tax on sporting events (Both JCHS & Carson-Newman College) and other entertainment events such as concerts.
10. Advertising – Allowing advertisements on county vehicles & buses.
11. Lot Grading Fee
12. Swimming Pool Grading Fee
Other ideas presented by committee members were adding a Wheel Tax for Carson-Newman College students - Fee anytime services are provided such as fire, ambulance, police to county residents - Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. (SPLOST).
Commissioner Griffin stated that we are losing a lot of residual money because so many Jefferson County residents (nearly 70%) work in other counties, therefore they dine, shop and purchase gas in their county of employment. He also cautioned that Jefferson County needs to be in line with other counties in regard to tax.
Commissioner Tucker said the burden of tax should be spread out evenly among all county residents. Tucker is not a proponent of Property Tax because a small percentage of Jefferson County residents own property. He stated that he would rather see revenue collected through sales tax and other means.
Director of Finance, Darrell Helton agreed that Jefferson County needs to eliminate property tax increases and would support promoting retail and industrial growth.
Controlling property tax increases is necessary, stated Mayor Palmieri.  He stated he wants the committee to know what is legal and possible as far as options to generate revenue. Palmieri said that the role of government was to provide for citizens what they cannot provide for themselves. 
He went on to say that Jefferson County must define itself so it can move forward. Palmieri wants to act now rather than waiting for a financial crisis.

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