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Dandridge, Tennessee

July 18, 2011 www.jeffersoncountypost.com

Adequate Funding For Fire Department
Can Lower Taxpayer Insurance Premiums

Staff Photo

The Jefferson County Public Service Committee met on Monday, July 11, 2011 at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse.

Committee Chairman Tucker called the meeting to order.

A large group representing citizens for and against a outdoor event permit were present. Because a full County Commission Work Session was scheduled following the meeting and because representatives from the local branches of Fire Departments were present, Chairman Tucker proposed a separate meeting to address the outdoor permit issue. A meeting was set for Monday, July 18, 2011, @ 4pm in the Main Courtroom of the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse.

The Committee heard from Fire Chiefs from various departments in the County regarding a 

formula for funding that will be presented to the full Commission for consideration, at a later date. The Committee posed questions to the various departments about expenses such as loan payments and equipment costs. The consensus was that even the smallest departments could not survive without the $55,000 County contribution. The concept of a formula for funding was due to the apparent different needs of the departments and the scope of their coverage. Committee Member Carmichael informed the Committee that fire service does make a difference to taxpayer, as their ISO rating could lower a citizens insurance costs. Committee Member Carmichael showed the Committee a check that he had received from his insurance company because of a lower ISO rating. He stated that it is in the best interest of taxpayers to adequately fund the individual departments, as their success is directly tied to insurance premiums. He said that the difference in yearly premiums could go toward what the citizen pays in property tax and that it is the responsibility of the Commission to give the taxpaying citizens all the assistance that is available to make economic ends meet. 

Funding is already in place for the 2011-2012 budget year and the funding formula, should it be accepted by the Commission, will not have any impact this year. Committee Chairman Tucker stated that for future funding, the Commission is interested in finding the most fair way to distribute funds that are available. The various departments will submit expenses and call information to the Committee for review.  The meeting was adjourned.

Jefferson County School Board

Citizen Concerned Over New School Access in Dangerous Curve

The Jefferson County School Board met for their regular monthly meeting on Thursday, July 14, 2011 in the Media Center of Jefferson County High School.

The meeting was called to order by Chairman of the Board Potts.

The Agenda and Consent Agenda items were unanimously approved.

Jefferson County Citizen Mark Havely addressed the Board regarding concern about the access point on Dumplin Valley to the new elementary school. Havely made a formal request to move the point of access from the apex of the curve to a straighter area of the road. Havely stated that by moving the access point to the west, there would be an unobstructed view, as the current position is in one of the most dangerous curves on Dumplin Valley. He said that he lives across from the new school and was not in opposition to the facility, however felt that entering the school at that point on Dumplin Valley would be dangerous for the public, as the road is already heavily traveled. Havely also contended that it made the access to his home unsafe and impacted the quality of life for his family. He further contended that moving the access point would ultimately save over $1 million that it will cost the county for a proposed turn lane. Havely suggested that any additional property that might be needed for the move could be purchased at a low cost from the Blackburns. Director of Schools Edmonds said that he had met with the architect and engineers, as well as the County Road Superintendent Tipton, Sheriff McCoig, and Jefferson County Mayor Palmieri recently and they were all in agreement on that the current access point was sufficient. One of the Civil Engineers for the project stated that this was the best option available and the turn lane would widen the road significantly at the access point. He stated that one of the problems with Dumplin Valley is that it is a narrow road with no shoulder, though the $1 million turn will add additional space that should help keep cars on the road. 

Jefferson County Citizen Bob Carr requested that the new elementary school be named Mt. Horeb School. He presented a petition of former Mt Horeb students, or those associated with the Mt Horeb School, to the Board.

Mark Havely’s wife asked to address the Board regarding statements made by the Engineer. Chairman Potts allowed her to speak , however she could not address anything that has already been said. Mrs. Havely asked if additional land was available, would the Engineer consider the straight portion of the road a better access point. Potts would not allow the question to the Engineer, so Havely addressed it to the Board. Potts dismissed Mrs. Havely, though there was protest that the allotted speaking time of three minutes per citizen had not been exhausted. Mark Havely stated that the situation was a travesty and the Board had acted without any citizen input in the location or building of new schools. He said that decisions were made before any citizen in the County was aware of what was happening.

Under New Business the Board unanimously approved policy changes for policy 4.301,4.406, 5.1141, 4.205, 4.600, 6.708, 5.115, 6.200, 6.203, 6.307. They also approved improvements to the Rush Strong School ( wooden playground equipment ). 

Board Member Phagan made a motion to instruct Director of School Edmonds and Jefferson County Finance Director Helton to bring before

Staff Photo

the Jefferson County Budget Committee a request for funds, to be taken from fund balance, should the DOE receive the technology grant, thus eliminating the need for the request to be first submitted to the School Board. 2nd Vines and passed unanimously. On a motion by Vines and 2nd by Phagan the yearly dues were unanimously approved. 

Under Unfinished Business the Board was informed that it will be necessary to pursue on site water and sewer for the new elementary school and freshman academy because the growth boundary movement that was requested of Dandridge is moving slowly. Also discussed was the additional charges for that will be incurred should the renovations at JCHS be funded. Currently the DOE has spent $238,000 on design and will spend $620,000 should the project be funded. More specific details of the renovation plans will be available at the work session.

The Talbot additions were moved to a later date because there were no numbers available for students that would be attending the school. A letter will be sent to the County Commission regarding the School Boards stance against the proposed Intermodal location near a school. 

Loy made a motion to make formal request to the Finance Committee to pursue a audit of the Department of Education portion of the budget, the scope of the audit will be at the discretion of the Committee. 2nd Bradley and passed with Vines and Jarnigan voting No.

Board Member Jarnigan made a motion to name the new elementary school Mt. Horeb School. The Board heard results from two citizen voting sources - the Jefferson County Post and the Jefferson County Board of Education Web Site- which hosted public opinion polls at the request of the Board. Both sources reported an overwhelming public preference for Dumplin Valley, which had in excess of 80% of the votes in each poll. Both polls also included several write in votes for Valley Elementary. The Motion for Mt Horeb was 2nd by Solomon and passed with Loy and Bradley voting No.

Results as published in the June 20, 2011 Edition of Jefferson County Post

Director of Schools informed the Board that $532,241 additional money had been located, which was not previously a part of the 2011-2012 budget proposal. He stated that the money was from a Federal grant ( 1.6 million ) and was left over from last year. Edmonds said that the money would more than meet the 10% cut of overage requested by the Budget Committee. Upon the Director of Schools recommendation, Vines made a motion to recognize the additional money as revenue. 2nd by Phagan and passed with Loy and Bradley voting No.  The meeting was adjourned.

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