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Dandridge, Tennessee

June 11, 2012 www.jeffersoncountypost.com

IS PROPERTY TAX INCREASE INEVITABLE?

 

Staff Photo / Joint Training Exercise / Jefferson County Rescue Squad, Lakeway Central Volunteer Fire Dept., Dandridge Volunteer Fire Dept.

Jefferson County is currently in the middle of the budgeting process for the 2012-2013 fiscal year and sharp increases in items such as health care and retirement contributions have impacted the bottom line. The County Operating Budget projections recently came in more than $800,000 in the red and did not include large deficits in the Department of Education budget proposal or the E-911 budget proposal. In a meeting last week, the Department of Education trimmed an approximate $2.6 million deficit to just over $1.4 million shortage. Jefferson County Director of Finance Helton stated that is will be difficult for the School Board to cover the deficit from fund balance in the long term. Though the Department of Education fund balance may be able to support around $1.1 million of the shortage, it will bring the fund balance perilously close to the State suggested minimum. Helton said that even if the Department of Education is able to cover the bulk of the deficit through fund balance for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, it will not be able to recoup the fund balance enough to sufficiently cover the overage for the next fiscal year, which will include at bare minimum this yearís shortage plus trend. County Departments are facing a bare bones budget that leaves no room for vehicle replacement or office equipment upgrades that are necessary to the function of the department. The Budget Committee voted in its last meeting to consider a budget based on last yearís funding (before any budget amendments) plus trend to cover costs that are mandated or beyond the control of the department such as insurance increases. Helton stated that it would take approximately a 12 cent increase in property tax to cover the Department of Education deficit should the Budget Committee decide to not pull from either the School System fund balance or the County fund balance. If the County funds the overage it runs the risk of increasing the maintenance of effort, which is the amount that the County is obligated to fund the Department of Education. The State mandates that the County cannot cut their contribution to the Department of Education funding and any funding that comes from the County will be continuous. Director Helton stated that a 12 cent increase in property tax will impact a house appraised at $150,000 at a $44 per year increase in property tax. Previously, Helton has addressed the Commission on the issue of increasing property taxes as a means of generating revenue rather than depending on the hospital lease money as a funding source for the renovation to Jefferson County High School. He stated that he feels that a property tax increase is on the horizon and will come sooner rather than later, even with the use of the hospital funds. Any change in the hospital commitment to the County would necessitate a more expedient need. Increased property tax, beyond the current $2.05 amount, has been projected for several years due to funding needs for the school building program, as well as other functions of the County. The significant rise in costs associated with personnel, such as retirement and health insurance, may have shortened the window of time between the projected increases.


SCHOOL BOARD CALLS SPECIAL MEETING FOR BUDGET CUTS

DOE Removes 13 Classroom Teaching Positions

The Jefferson County School Board held a Special Called Meeting on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 in the Media Center of Jefferson County High School.  The Meeting was Called to Order by Chairman of the Board Potts. Absent from Roll Call was School Board Member Solomon.  Upon a Motion from School Board Member Jarnigan and 2nd from School Board Member Bradley the Agenda was Approved.

Director of Schools Edmonds presented the Board with a proposal to cut overages from the fiscal year 2012-2013 budget which was returned by the budget committee for extensive cuts. Director Edmonds stated that there had been a good faith effort to reduce the deficit. Most of the cuts came from personnel and Edmonds stated that most, though not all, could be attained trough attrition. The Department of Education removed 13 classroom teaching positions. Five will come from grades Pre K Ė 5th grade. Two are Middle School positions and four are from Jefferson County High School. Or the seven Pre K-5th grade positions, four are actual and three were projected. Some Classified and Support Personnel positions will also be eliminated. Jefferson County High School will lose two security guards, one permanent substitute, one computer lab facilitator and one media assistant. Both Maury Middle School and Jefferson Middle School will lose a library assistant. Jefferson Elementary School will be short one general assistant and one pre-first assistant. Dandridge Elementary School will lose one pre-first assistant. Both Jefferson Elementary School and Dandridge Elementary School will be without Assistant Principals and the Central Office County Wide Health Supervisor, which is a grant position, will be combined with the Supervisor of Nursing position and the Nursing Supervisor will fulfill the duties of both positions. Part of the position held by Assistant Director of School McFall, who recently exited the County, will be shared among

First Father's Day - How It Started
 

Fatherís Day is celebrated in the United States on the third Sunday in June. The National acceptance of a day to celebrate fathers was initially weak and Fatherís Day almost became a casualty to a society that considered Mothers to be the primary parent. In June of 1910 Sonora Smart Dodd, who was being raised by her father, decided that fathers needed the same recognition as mothers for their sacrifices in parenting. She was living with her father, who was a civil war veteran and widower raising six children in Washington State. Sonora originally planned the celebration to honor fathers to occur on June 5th , which was her fatherís birthday, however the celebration date had to be pushed back to allow time for planning. The idea of celebrating a fatherís contribution to child rearing was met with resistance. Some felt that it was an attempt to take the spotlight off of Motherís Day. Sonora, after a stint in art school, found reinforcements in her quest to establish a day to celebrated fathers from the Fatherís Day Council, which was founded by the Associated Menís Wear Retailers. In 1916 President Wilson tried to make the holiday official but it was voted down by Congress, who feared that it would become too commercial. In the 1920s President Coolidge stopped short of making Fatherís Day a holiday through a National Proclamation. In the mid 1950s a female Senator from Maine, Margaret Chase Smith, lobbied for the holiday to have a permanent place of National recognition. She felt that it was wrong to overlook the contribution of fathers in the parenting process. It still took nine years before President Johnson made a proclamation declaring the third Sunday in June as Fatherís Day. In 1972, after sixty two years and two rejections by Congress, President Nixon signed Fatherís Day into law and it took its place as an official, permanent National holiday. Sonora Smart Dodd live to see the day that Fatherís Day was signed into law and the completion of a sixty two year quest to honor the contributions of fathers in the United States.

 

existing Central Office Staff Members and the replacement salary will be that of a regular supervisor, rather than Assistant Director pay. Edmonds stated that the reduction in the Central Office will free up about $65,000 to $70,000 that will be used to reduce the deficit. Departmental cuts include $58,455 from Technology Equipment, $8,000 from Technology Vehicle, $42,000 under Operation of Plant (found to be a duplicate amount), $15,150 in Special Education and $3,000 in Support Staff. The proposed cuts also include requesting a loan from the County Commission to cover the $134,000 cost of removing modular units (to be paid back with saving from rental costs). The total of project cuts is $ 1,185,682 leaving a $ 1,474,765 deficit.

Edmonds stated that some increases in the budget proposal are beyond the control of the Department of Education. A $335,000 increase in insurance costs, a $125,000 State retirement increase for Support Staff and the local match for teacher increases of $160,000 were all mandated or unavoidable costs. Edmonds stated that the Department of Education is also carrying a deferred cost of $533,000 for previous mandated retirement increases which was previously covered by a Federal Jobs Grant that is no longer available. Start up costs for the new elementary school of $267,500 have been authorized by the County Commission and are a part of the total deficit. Director Edmonds lists costs that are beyond the control of the School Board to total $1,420,500.

Jefferson County Director of Finance Helton stated that final numbers for BEP funding will not be available until July.

Upon a Motion from Bradley and a 2nd from Jarnigan the Board voted 4-2 (Cavanaugh and Loy-No) to send the proposed budget as presented back to the Budget Committee for approval.

Upon a Motion from Vines and a 2nd from Jarnigan the Board voted to Approve the Federal Budget. The vote was 4-2 with Cavanaugh and Loy voting No.

Upon a Motion from Bradley and 2nd from Vines the Board Unanimously Approved asking the County Commission for a loan of $150,000 for removal of modular. The Meeting was Adjourned.


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