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Dandridge, Tennessee

February 6, 2012

County Budget Committee 
Dockery's Capital Request Policy Designed to Streamline and Track
Staff Photo / Daffodils arriving early to the party.

Jefferson County Mayor Palmieri stated that the proposed policy is a good document and that everyone, including the various County Departments and County Committees, need to be on board for it to be executed properly.

The Jefferson County Budget Committee met on Monday, January 30, 2012 at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse. The Meeting was Called to Order by Committee Chairman Scarlett.  Absent were Mills and Tabor (Baxley sat in for Tabor).  Upon a Motion from Committee Member Turner and 2nd from Beeler the Minutes were unanimously Approved.

Director of Jefferson County Finance Helton informed the Committee that School budget amendments will be presented at the next Budget Committee meeting to allow time for School Board review.

With a proper motion and 2nd the Committee unanimously Approved the schedules for the Budget Process.  According to information distributed by Director Helton, the budget process for the 2012-2013 fiscal year will begin on February 15, with the Finance Director and County Mayor meeting with County Department Heads to provide Budget Assumptions and Budget Rules. All County Department, Highway and Landfill Capitol Projects first drafts of their budget is due to the Finance Office on or before April 13,1012.

The Department of Education budget is due to the Jefferson County Finance Department on April 30, 2012.

May 17 the Budget Committee will conduct a first time review of all budgets excluding the Department of Education. May 24, 2012 the Budget Committee will have a first review of the School Budget. May 31, 2012 will be the Budget Committee’s 2nd review of all budgets, with the final review and preparation for recommendation to the Commission coming on June 7,2012. The Final Budget is slotted to go before the Full Commission for approval on July 16,2012.

The Committee Approved a Motion to distribute a copy of the proposed Capitol Request Policy for their input and for questions, concerns and suggestions to be returned to the Jefferson County Finance Department by March 15, 2012.

Commissioner Dockery presented a revised Capitol Request Policy to the Committee, stating that it could possibility streamline two other Resolutions that are currently a part of the capitol projects process. The proposed policy provides that any request that is contingent on a projected savings to the County be presented with the method of tracking and that the requestor provided tracking information. The policy would allow the Budget Committee to include Capitol Project projections in the budgeting process and would allow the Committee to include any projected operational costs for projects on the approved list. Helton stated that there has been a lot of deviation from the past plans, especially on the school’s side of the budget.  The Meeting was Adjourned.

Roger Griffith Launches Campaign for State Representative


February 1, 2012, Roger Griffith, a local businessman and county commissioner, announced his candidacy for State Representative of the reconfigured 17th district, which now includes most of Jefferson County and the northern part of Sevier County. 

In announcing his candidacy, Griffith stated, “We are facing serious challenges in our district. There is a double-digit unemployment rate in this area, Tennessee ranks 46th in education, and our values are constantly under attack. To overcome these challenges, the district needs a representative in Nashville with fresh ideas, extensive business experience, and the desire to listen to and communicate with citizens. I will work hard to represent the best interests of the entire district.” 

Griffith is the founder and president of Griffith Engineering & Consulting, Inc., a local engineering firm. He said, “As a small business owner myself, I understand the difficulties of cumbersome government regulations and excessive taxes. Current unemployment rates in Jefferson and Sevier Counties are over 10%, which is significantly higher than the state average of 8.3%.” 

Griffith also commented, “Government cannot create lasting jobs, but government can lower taxes, cut burdensome regulations, develop infrastructure and provide economic incentives to help businesses thrive, providing more and better jobs. We cannot sit idly by and wait for economic recovery to come to us. We must be prepared to launch into economic recovery and be a leader in job creation. I will work diligently to represent the interests of this area in Nashville.” 

His public service complements his business experience. Griffith is currently a County Commissioner in Jefferson County, where he serves as Chairman of the Finance Committee and Chairman Pro Tempore. He has helped develop and pass a Debt Management Policy for the county, which provides openness and transparency for financial transactions. Griffith has been a leading supporter of school construction projects in the county, including the construction of a new elementary school and extensive renovations for the county’s high school. He recently introduced a resolution opposing any weakening of the “Sunshine Law”. 

Griffith, 50, earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University. During 14 years at TVA, he held various engineering and management positions. As the principal of his engineering firm for the past 15 years, Griffith has been an engineering consultant for many local businesses and development projects, including Dollywood, The Inn at Christmas Place, Mills Auditorium, the Pigeon Forge Welcome Center, and Grainger County High School. 

Roger and his family are active members of True Life Church in Jefferson City where he serves as an elder. He is a graduate of the East Tennessee Regional Leadership Program. He is also a member and past president of the Jefferson City Rotary Club, and a past board member of Habitat for Humanity in Jefferson County. 

Roger has been married to his wife, Missy, for 25 years. They have nine children and live on a small farm in New Market. 

Griffith will be on the Republican ballot in the state primary on August 2. For further information, please contact (865)850-0322.

la Nina and the Coming Months for East Tennessee

Will this year be a repeat of 1993?

Jefferson County, along with most of the Nation, has experienced a vastly different Winter than 2011 brought to the area. Temperatures locally have been more Spring like in nature and have resulted in some confusion in plants and wildlife. Flowers, including daffodils and the less hardy Spring tulips, have begun to bloom and wildlife that is often scarce during the cold months, such as skunks, have begun to make their presence known months earlier than normal. Though many Jefferson County residents are more than happy with the moderate temperatures that the la Nina cycle has delivered to the area, it begs the question of what the County will be facing when Spring arrives in earnest. The Climate Predication Center is anticipating above average temperatures and precipitation through early Spring. Locally, parts of the County were devastated during 2011, as floods ravaged the area. The increased chance of precipitation could mean that the flood outlook is equally grim for early 2012. The good news is that by late Spring meteorologists expect that the la Nina cycle will no longer adversely impact the Tennessee Valley. Temperatures are expected to be normal in late Spring and continue in that pattern through the end of 2012. Precipitation is also expected to level out in the late Spring, bringing relief to those living in the flood plains. Abnormal precipitation amounts have already lead to the opening of nine Tennessee dams to relieve the threat of flooding. Though temperatures are expected to remain above average until late Spring, some meteorologists are comparing this year to 1993, when the area faced a recording breaking amount of snow in mid March. Though the blizzard of 1993 was a devastating weather event, the threat of tornados, thunderstorms and flooding appear to be more the norm for the next several months. New Market, Strawberry Plains and White Pine were heavily hit by flooding during 2011. Other areas of the County had sporadic flood damage, as well as high wind and hail damage during the turbulent weather of 2011.

Israel - Iran Tensions Continue To Grow
By: Jake Depew, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer

On Friday, February 3, 2012, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, issued a statement saying that Iran would stand beside any country who opposes the “cancerous” Israel. Israel is a longtime ally of the United States, and many officials in the country have grown increasingly anxious about Iran’s developing nuclear program, as Khamenei has stated before that, given the chance, Iran would take nuclear action against Israel. Many believe that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, although the country has released statements many times that claim the goal of the program is to provide energy for civilian purposes. As a result of these fears, concern is

growing as to whether or not Israel is going to preemptively strike Iran in an effort to halt the country’s nuclear program. An attack of this nature is likely to draw supporters of both sides to action. No specific details of either country’s future actions have been given, although some U.S. officials, who decline to be identified, believe that movement in Israel could be accomplished within the year of 2012: it is important to note that these predictions only concern the ability of the countries to take action, not the intent to do so. As of this writing, the Israel-Iran conflict remains one of the most internationally shared concerns: as such, more details are likely to be revealed in the coming days.

© Copyright 2011 The Jefferson County Post All Rights Reserved

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