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This Just In

Dandridge, Tennessee

June 20, 2011

County Budget Committee Just Says NO! Jefferson County School Board's New Budget

Staff Photo

The Jefferson County Commission Budget Committee met on Thursday, June 16, 2011, (6pm) at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse. 

The meeting was called to order by Budget Committee Chairman Scarlett.

Committee Member Kesterson was absent and Commissioner Maples attended in his place. 

Chairman of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Board addressed the Budget Committee regarding a previous motion to cut Jefferson County Chamber funding by $60,000. The Chamber is currently receiving all hotel/motel tax in Jefferson County. The funding request from the Chamber was $180,000. The Chamber Board Chairman stated that the Chamber could amend the requested amount to $160,000, however any further cuts would impact some of the programs that the Chamber is currently involved in such as the 3 star program, adult and youth leadership and Christmas in Jefferson County. 

Don Cason, Director of the Chamber of Commerce, stated that staffing could be impacted if the cuts were deeper. Committee Member Barreiro stated that all of the charities that were previously cut performed great service to Jefferson County, and that the Chamber should be self reliant. She said that the funding level from the public funds was out of balance with the level that other counties fund their Chambers. Committee Member Tucker stated that there needs to be a weaning process from tax dollars to a more self reliant approach to funding. Budget Committee Member Beeler made a motion to accept the $20,000 reduction in funding that was offered by the Chamber and use the $20,000 to fund part of the Jefferson County commitment to EDOT- which is a arm of the Chamber of Commerce. $20,000 will be taken from the EDOT funding and put into the General Fund. Basically, resulting in the county saving $20,000. The motion was 2nd by Mills and passed ( Barriero No).

The Budget Committee discussed the funding for the E-911/EMA/EMS & Ambulance combination building. Director of Finance Helton stated that Jefferson County has a healthy Fund Balance and several options to fund the 1.6 million that will be left on the new facility. He informed the committee that they will most likely have to tap into the Fund Balance for the $500,000 needed to balance the budget, so if they decide to use the Fund Balance to pay for the new combination facility the total from the Fund Balance would be 2.1 million dollars. Other options include borrowing money from trustee at a little more than 1% interest or waiting to combine any other projects and taking out a note. Committee Member Solomon made the motion to borrow the 1.6 million needed for the new combination facility from the trustee at + 1% interest. The motion was 2nd by Estes. Beeler made a high priority motion to postpone until they had a more complete look at the budget and Tucker 2nd. The motion to postpone passed with Solomon and Estes voting no.

The Sanitation Department requested a used dozier although bids were taken on a new dozier. The request came as a effort to save money , as the cost of a new dozier is significant. Committee Member Tucker made a motion to take the cost of a used dozier and the construction of phase 1 of the new cell from Capitol Projects. Committee Member Turner 2nd . Committee Member Solomon made a motion to postpone funding and was 2nd by Mills. The motion passed unanimously. However, the committee unanimously agreed to fund the used dozier.

In a motion by Turner and 2nd by Estes the committee voted to fund the $175,839 request of the Jefferson County Sheriff for 4 employees to fill one around the clock position at the Workhouse. The Sheriff stated that the position was needed for safety reasons.

The Jefferson County Department of Education presented their budget for the 2011-2012 year to the Budget Committee. Director of School Edmonds requested that 1.6 million + , which is in excess of last years local maintenance of effort , be taken from the school systemís fund balance. Committee Member Tucker stated that he was concerned that if the committee approves the budget as presented, that it will drastically effect next years tax rate, as all approved reoccurring items will become maintenance of effort and therefore the Counties responsibility. Budget Committee Chairman Scarlett said that the county would be responsible for any items that would be consider maintenance of effort. He requested that the Department of Education inquire if there is a waiver for a $600,000 state mandated contribution to retirement fund to keep it in good standing. A waiver would allow the $600,000 to not be considered maintenance of effort, therefore not increasing the yearly funding obligation to the Department of Education. The committee discussed that amendments could be made to the budget if necessary , as the DOE was requesting them out of Fund Balance. If no amendments are needed then it will not increase the yearly obligation to the DOE. The 1.6 million dollar increase could result in a significant tax increase next year, when the money is still obligated to be paid by the county, yet not coming out of the Department of Education Fund Balance. Committee Member Tucker made the motion to fund the Department of Education at the same level as last year-no increase to the maintenance of effort-including the state mandated salary increase, with the local portion of the funding ( $97,830) coming from the DOE Fund Balance. All else will be handled with Amendments, as needed. Barreiro 2nd and motion failed by a small margin. Committee Member Beeler echoed Tuckers motion adding the $55,000 Trane payment ( approved during a previous meeting). Motion was 2nd by Tucker and passed with Turner, Estes and Solomon voting no.

The Budget Committee unanimously approved several budget amendments that had no impact on Fund Balance.  The meeting was Adjourned.

Committee Discussion on Growth Boundaries
Staff Photo

The Jefferson County Urban Growth Committee convened on Wednesday, June 15, 2011, at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse ( 4pm). 

The committee was convened at the request of the Town of Dandridge. Dandridge has been asked to allow the new central elementary school on Dumplin Valley Road to connect to city sewer. The Jefferson County Department of Education made the request of the Dandridge. The growth boundaries for Dandridge do not currently extend that far and it will require extending the growth boundaries to encompass the area in question. The Department of Education is also interested in city sewer for the proposed new freshman academy. This area is also outside the current growth boundaries for Dandridge. 

Mayor Palmieri presided over the meeting. A motion from Jefferson City Mayor Potts resulted in the unanimous decision for current committee officers to remain in their respective positions.

Mayor Palmieri opened the floor for Representatives from each area to voice any requests to the committee. 

Dandridge was represented by Town Administrator Jim Hutchins. In addition to the request for the Department of Education, he stated that Dandridge is interested in more land that is suitable for development. Dandridge would like growth boundaries extended to the 424 exit area. The process to extend the growth boundaries is lengthy, according to Palmieri, and is expected to take several months. Director of Finance Helton stated that the tax payers should see a considerable savings if the new schools are allowed to hook onto Dandridge sewer. Not only must the committee, each individual area, and the County Commission

approve the boundary extension-it must be approved by the State of Tennessee. The process could take 8 or more months.

Jefferson City Mayor Potts expressed concern about unclear property lines in Jefferson City, stating that some resident have split parcels of land that could potentially hurt their property value. He also requested that Jefferson City be allowed to extend growth boundaries further down 11E. There will be some potential industrial property included in the proposed extension. 

New Market Mayor Guinn stated that he does not wish to annex, however he is interested in expansion of New Marketís growth boundaries. Mayor Palmieri commented that extension of growth boundaries does not automatically result in annexation, but does allow for the possibility.

White Pine Mayor Wilder said that there was a request to extend the growth boundaries to include the White Pine Golf Club area. 

Baneberry was not represented in the meeting.

Mayor Palmieri stated that to expedite the process, the requesting areas will make maps available to the committee prior to the June 29 (10am) meeting-also including a description of the boundaries in question.

Committee member Anne Marie Potts- who also serves as chairman of the Jefferson County School Board-requested that the school issue be separated to move it along more quickly. Several committee members and Mayors stated that the issues cannot legally be separated.  Mayor Palmieri Adjourned the meeting.

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June 20, 2011 Go To Page

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