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Dandridge, Tennessee

June 18, 2012 www.jeffersoncountypost.com

PALMIERI BOND DECISION UNVEILED TONIGHT

 

Staff Photo / Cherokee Lake & Black Oak Marina

The Jefferson County Commission held their Regular Monthly Work Session on Monday, June 11, 2012 at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse. The Meeting was Called to Order By Commission Chairman Mills. Absent from Roll Call were Commissioners Patterson, Musick, Griffith, Barreiro, Hubbard.  Chairman Mills stated that he had received a letter of resignation from Commissioner Hubbard and is awaiting information on the procedure for filling the vacated seat.

Jefferson County Financial Advisor Ayers stated that a compromise in wording may move the school bond issue forward. He said that he was comfortable with wording submitted by Jefferson County Mayor Palmieri to be submitted in to the bond signature document that would possibly move the signature process along. Commissioner Beeler stated that Ayers should put the document in front of the Mayor for signature. Ayres stated that bonds cannot go to public market without the signature of the Mayor and that he is only involved with the instrument of funding and cannot compel the Mayor to commit to signing the document. He said that the language that was proposed for insertion should not negatively impact the sale of the bonds. Mayor Palmieri stated that he will have a final decision on his intent to sign or not to sign the bonds at the Monday voting meeting.

Jefferson County Attorney Drinnon stated that the Jefferson Memorial Foundation and By-Laws were approved by Jefferson City and are ready for vote by the County Commission. He distributed those documents to the County Commission on June 6, 2012 and they must be approved by the County to instigate the new Charter and By-Laws. The issue will be up for vote at the next voting meeting.

Commissioner Turner stated that he would like to instigate a procedure for performance evaluation of the Jefferson County Finance Director. He said that he will be requesting a formal evaluation by the Finance Committee and have the results of the evaluation be distributed to the Full Commission. Jefferson County Finance Director Helton stated that he has addressed payment issues with the Finance Committee and has addressed the issue within the department by making personnel changes. He said that he is not opposed to a formal evaluation if the process is conducted without a political agenda. Commissioner Dockery asked if a line item County audit by an independent firm would help to establish any prior issues that were inherited. Director stated that County audits by the State are complete and that he sees no reason for an independent audit and has found no misappropriation of funds.  The Meeting was Adjourned.


Budget Committee Postpones DOE Funding Request

Awaiting Firm Numbers for Fund Balance

 
Staff Photo

The Jefferson County Budget Committee met on Tuesday, June 12, 2012, at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse.  The Meeting was Called to Order by Committee Chairman Scarlett. Commissioners Dockery, Maples and Blevins were in for Committee members Tucker, Kesterson and Barreiro, respectively. Upon a Motion from Committee Member Beeler and 2nd from Tabor the Minutes were Approved.

 
UN Suspends Monitoring Mission
By Jake Depew, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer

On Saturday, June 16, 2012, the United Nations announced that it would be suspending its observer mission in Syria due to the recent increase in violence. Gen. Robert Mood, the head of the Supervision Mission, stated that parties involved in the fighting in Syria, contrary to statements given to the U.N., are exhibiting a “lack of willingness…to seek a peaceful resolution.” The Syrian government has responded that the recent increase in deaths in the country was caused by terrorist factions. Since Syrian President al-Assad’s government began its campaign against anti-government movements, an approximate 12,000 to 14,000 deaths have occurred. A cease-fire was enacted on April 12, 2012, with the United Nations supplying monitors to the region in order to ensure that the warring factions abided by the cease-fire. At the height of the mission, as many as 300 monitors were in Syria. With the recent increase in violence in the region, these monitors have been removed for their own safety. In recent months, as many as 1280 people have been killed in suburbs around the Syrian capitol, including 123 children, 50 people who succumbed to torture methods, and 58 people who were publicly executed. According to a report by the Local Coordination Committees (LCC) of Syria, following the U.N. announced the suspension of the Supervision Mission, at least 77 people were killed. 43 of the deaths were in the Damascus suburbs. At the time of this writing it is unknown if the U.N.’s current monitoring efforts will ever be continued (provided the level of violence decreases), or if an entirely new method of monitoring the situation in Syria will be utilized.

 

Bob Jarnigan of HB Jarnigan Insurance Agency addressed the committee regarding the commission fee schedule for County business. He requested an increase in fees as compensation for increased duties due to the exit of a company that was splitting duties and fees with his company.

Director of Jefferson County Archives Department requested funding for a microfilm machine to replace the one that is in disrepair. She brought copies to demonstrated the need and the most competitive price available. Committee Member Beeler made a Motion to Approve the request for a microfilm reader at the cost of $7,975. 2nd Turner-Passed.

E-911 Director Reed presented a request for additional funding beyond last years funding level to due to increased payroll and electricity costs in the amount of $17,100. The Committee recommended that the E-911 Board should increase land line phone charges to cover the additional funding needs. Upon a Motion from Beeler and 2nd from Solomon the Committee voted 7-3 ( Scarlett, Blevins, Maples-No) to deny the funding increase and send the recommendation for phone line charge increase to the E-911 Board.

Director of Jefferson County Finance Helton stated that the County Operational Budget has been reduced $243,522 from last weeks proposed numbers.

Director of Schools Edmonds presented a revised school system budget which included $1,182,682 in cuts beyond the increases that are beyond the control of the School Board, such as retirement and health insurance increases and state mandates. Director Edmonds also requested a $150,000 loan from the County to fund the removal of modular units that would be paid back over a five year period from modular rental savings. Director of Finance Helton stated that the government cannot loan money. Chairman Scarlett questioned if the funding could come from Department of Education Fund Balance. Helton stated that the DOE fund balance has some reserves and there is not a firm number on available funds for use. Committee Member Tabor made a Motion to fund the Department of Education at last year’s funding level plus $1,420,000 increase. Motion died for lack of 2nd.

Committee Member Mills stated that he is uncomfortable making any funding decision without solid information about the Department of Education Fund Balance. Mills made a Motion to postpone the vote on funding the Department of Education until June 21, 2011 to allow time for information on the fund balance to be reviewed. 2nd Estes –Passed 7-2-1 (Scarlett, Blevins-No) (Maples-Abstain).

In other action, the Committee was informed that funds reserved for overages during the current budget year of $535,000 will not be used and could be used to fund raises.  Helton, at the request of the Committee, presented numbers for County employee raises. 2 ½ % will cost the County $265,000, 3 ½ will cost the County $372,000 and 5% will cost the County $531,000. The figures are for full time employees only.

Committee Member Beeler stated that he would like to revisit the E-911 request if the funds are available. Committee Member Estes stated that he would not like to revisit the issue, as it had already been voted on.

Commissioner Dockery made a Motion to Approve a 3 ½ % raise for County employees (full time) 2nd Mills. The motion was amended by Beeler to reduce the raise to 2 ½ % raise. The Amended Motion Passed 8-2 with Dockery and Maples voting No.

Upon a Motion from Committee Member Solomon and 2nd from Dockery the Committee Approved the Acceptance of the Capitol Request Policy 9-1(Turner No).

Commissioner Blevins made a Motion to include the E-911 employees in the County raise. 2nd Maples

Mills made a Motion to Postpone the issue until the June 21, 2012 meeting for number availability. 2nd Solomon. Passed Unanimously.  The Meeting was Adjourned.


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June 18, 2012 Go To Page

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