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Dandridge, Tennessee

June 25, 2012 www.jeffersoncountypost.com

BUDGET COMMITTEE KICKS BACK DOE BUDGET

Committee Asks For $600,000 More To Be Cut From Already Tight Schools Budget Package

Staff Photo

The Jefferson County Budget Committee held a meeting on Thursday, June 21, 2012 in the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse.  The Meeting was Called to Order by Committee Chairman Scarlett. Upon a Motion from Solomon and 2nd Blevins the Minutes were Approved. A Motion from Solomon and 2nd Turner to adjourn the meeting at nine o’clock Failed.  Due to a line item being inadvertently added to the budget of Departments that were not cut as requested prior to review, Commissioner Tucker made a Motion to adjust line item 599 on any budget that was not cut prior to review. 2nd Turner –Passed.

Tucker made a Motion to fund the difference for the law library from fund balance. 2nd Turner-Unanimously Passed.
Tucker made a Motion to include a 2 ½ % raise in the Highway and Sanitation Department Budget. 2nd Blevins-Unanimously Passed
The Committee also unanimously Approved the consolidation of the Property Assessor’s Office (non impacting).

Committee Member Turner made a Motion to increase the payment of HB Jarnigan Company by $20,000 to accommodate a work load shift. 2nd Tucker and amended by Beeler to cut the amount to a $10,000 increase. 2nd Tabor. Amendment failed 8-2. Original Motion of Turner/Tucker Passed.

Ginger Franklin, Jefferson County Trustee, requested a line item adjustment of $636. Motion to Approve offered by Tucker. 2nd Kesterson-Passed Unanimously.

Sheriff McCoig requested adjustments to account for items beyond his control such as insurance increases and an increase in gasoline line item in the budget proposal. Upon a Motion from Tucker and 2nd Turner  the Committee Approved adjusting the budget according to actual numbers for insurance increases.-Passed.

No action was taken on the gasoline request and it was suggested that the Sheriff return with a budget amendment if needed at a later time. No action was taken on a request for a $9 increase to the Litter and Sanitation Grant vehicle insurance.

Sheriff McCoig requested an increase in the line item for electricity for the jail which would return it to the previous year’s funding amount, as well as an increase in the water line to accommodate the increase in Dandridge Water for a total of $24,119. Upon a Motion from Beeler and 2nd Tucker the request was Approved.

Sheriff McCoig requested an increase in the Workhouse budget to accommodate salary and benefits increase of $12,600 (actual numbers). Upon a Motion from Tucker and 2nd Turner the request was Approved.

Turner made a Motion to Approve a 2 ½% raise for E-911 employees from the general fund. 2nd Blevins-Failed in tie vote

Beeler made a motion to give a 2 ½ % raise to E-911 employees if the E-911 Board will increase land line charges by 50 cents to fund the raise.2nd Estes-Amended by Tucker to reduce amount of increase to 25 cents- denied to be accepted by consent from Beeler and was withdrawn. The original Motion Failed in a tie vote. The Committee was informed by County Finance Director Helton that they could not conditionally give a raise, nor requires an increase from the E-911 Board for raise funding.

Director Helton stated that the Department of Education will have around $700,000 to $800,000 roll into fund balance due to over budgeting retirement during the last fiscal year. Tucker made a Motion to Approve all Amendments to the General Purpose School Fund. 2nd Estes Passed (Turner Abstained).

Helton informed the Committee that the Department of Education will receive a grant for the cooling unit at White Pine and a TVA rebate that was included in the roll over amount. Currently the Department of Education has $1.1 million in unencumbered or restricted funds beyond the State suggested mandates. Beeler stated that the current School System Budget proposal will require a tax increase. The amount of deficit, including a 2 ½ % classified raise is $1,591,130. Kesterson made a Motion to send the budget proposal back for an additional $600,000 in cuts. 2nd Blevins – Passed with Blevins, Kesterson, Scarlett, Tucker and Tabor voting Yes.  (Solomon had departed leaving 5 a majority)

A Motion by Tucker to Approve an increase in the Building Inspector Budget for vehicle purchase was 2nd by Blevins-Failed

By consent the Budget Committee will address the County Operating Budget following a Called Meeting of the Full Commission on Thursday, June 28, 2012 at the Jefferson County Health Department.  The Meeting was Adjourned.


New Dandridge Administrator, Bryan McCarter

Talks about tough issues facing the town.

 

Bryan McCarter will shortly take the helm as the Administrator for the Town of Dandridge and he will immediately be met with some challenging issues that are facing the Town. On a five to two vote, the Board of Mayor and Alderman for the Town voted to include a 4.31 cent tax increase in the budget proposal for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, which would bring the city property tax rate to 94 cents. The increase was designed to give a cushion in the budget proposal that would limit the necessity of returning to the rainy day fund for any unforeseen expenditures throughout the year. Previously, Town elected officials had considered the elimination of one position in the Town Administration, however they concluded that the loss of personnel would cut the Town short and overburden other employees. According to McCarter, the Rainy Day Fund has $983,616 that is not designated or assigned and can be tapped for emergency expenses. The Rainy Day Fund has dwindled over the past few years and it is edging toward the two month reserve that the Board of Mayor and Aldermen are striving to keep in reserve. Sales Tax revenues are high and Dandridge is enjoying an 11% growth rate over last year. Though property tax collection is good, there has been a drop in collections, due largely to the economy. On the expenditures side, the Town has invested in a new community center. Some of the costs of the new construction are covered by a grant and the project is running about 2% over budget. Though there will be some operational costs associated with the new facility, officials hope to recover some of the outlay through admission fees and special event revenue. McCarter stated that the budget proposal was balanced without the proposed tax increase, however it was bare bones. He said that Town Departments, such as sanitation and highway, are looking at equiptment needs in the near future and a tax increase appeared likely, either during this budget proposal or the next. The Town will shortly make the final payment on the Fire Department Building and that will loosen up funds in debt service. Issues that McCarter will face upon taking the head position include addressing funding for the Dandridge Fire Department, the Traffic Signal Project on Dumplin Valley and Paving of Industrial Park Drive. McCarter is

Dexfest Sues Jefferson County Commission, Sheriff and County
 

Steven Palmer and Lake Cove Resort and Realty, Inc Doing Business As Dexfest 2011 has filed suit against GW ”Bud” McCoig, Kyle Loveday, Monte Bowen, John and Jane Doe Jefferson County Deputy Sheriffs, Jefferson County Board of Commissioners and Jefferson County. McCoig is sued in both an official and personal capacity and Loveday and Bowen are sued in a personal capacity. The suit alleges that Palmer and his business were harmed financially and harassed while trying to operate a legitimately licensed business. It further alleges that the plaintiffs had the right to be free from official misconduct and oppression from McCoig, Loveday, Bowen and John and Jane Doe of the Sheriff’s Office. According to the suite, which was filed on June 15th in Jefferson County, Sheriff McCoig had conversations with members of the community that oppose Dexfest and stated that he had assistance from other law enforcement agencies and would stop every person coming to or going from Dexfest. It also stated that McCoig stated that if he harassed Dexfest participants enough then Dexfest would stop the events. The suit alleges that a command center was in fact established outside Dexfest and participants were stopped in a de facto roadblock and that vehicles were searched. The suit states that 23 private security officers were hired to control the event and that two members of the Sheriff’s Department were also employed to stop intoxicated people from exiting the premise. According to the suit, the Sheriff’s Department employees did not fulfill the stipulations of their employment with Dexfest and allowed participants to leave intoxicated, while knowing that a command center had been established to arrest intoxicated participants. Vendors at Dexfest were cited with two incidents of selling to minors and Dexfest appeared before the Jefferson County Beer Board where their license to sell beer was suspended. The suit alleges that Palmer was not appropriately notified of the appearance before the Beer board. Other detailed allegations make up the remainder of the suit. The plaintiff is requesting over $3 million dollars in damages, as well as court costs and attorney fees. The suit was filed by Palmer’s attorney Herb Moncier and requests a jury trial.

 

concerned that the 2800 residents that pay property tax inside Dandridge are paying for County residents to have services. Recently, Jefferson County Budget Committee took no action on a request to help fund traffic turn lanes that are necessary for signal light installation at the Dumplin Valley and Hwy 92 intersection. The Town had also requested assistance with the paving of Industrial Park Drive, a road that has high County traffic and funding assistance for the Fire Department coverage areas outside the City limits. The cost of the turn lanes has been estimated at $220,000 and would be burden to Town residents. The Dandridge Fire Department is responsible for the greater Dandridge area, including the interstate. ¾ of the calls they answer are outside the city limits. McCarter stated that the Town has a good working relationship with the County and that he will strive to maintain that relationship, however it is unreasonable for the Town of Dandridge and Jefferson County to expect city residents to subsidize County services. He is planning to address the signal light project with the Department of Education, in hopes that they will contribute to the financial obligations that are associated with the project. McCarter said that finalizing the budgeting process and executing a tight budget are on the top of the list when he takes office on July 1, 2012. He will investigate a variety of avenues of funding for the Fire Department and hopes to put resident’s at ease with the tax increase, which will bring Dandridge property tax rate equal with Jefferson City.


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June 25, 2012 Go To Page

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