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Dandridge, Tennessee

June 04, 2012 www.jeffersoncountypost.com

BUDGET COMMITTEE VOTES FOR MORE CUTS

Despite Department Head Objections

Staff Photo

Finance Director Helton - 3% Cuts based on last years funding would require 7-10% due to increases beyond Department Head control.

 

The Jefferson County Budget Committee met on Thursday, May 31, 2012 at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse.  The Meeting was Called to Order by Chairman of the Budget Committee Scarlett. Absent from Roll Call were Turner and Blevins (in for Barreiro).  After discussion, the Committee by consent passed the Approval of the Minutes to the next meeting to clean up issues with the documentation.

Committee Member Kesterson and Committee Member Tucker both made motions to move the June 7, 2012 meeting to June 14, 201. Both motions died for lack of 2nds. Kesterson made a Motion to move the June 7, 2012 meeting to June 21, 2012. Motion Passed.

The Town of Dandridge submitted a request for assistance resurfacing Industrial Park Drive, which, according to the Town, is highly traveled by County traffic because of County buildings that are located on the street. The cost to the County amounted to around $60,000. Committee Members offered no Motion and no action was taken.

The Town of Dandridge requested that the County share in the costs associated with a turn lane and upgrades at the East and West Dumplin Valley Road proposed signal light location. The Town maintains that the light is necessary due to increased traffic that will be associated with the new elementary school and the new freshman academy, as well as Jefferson County High School. The cost for the entire project is projected to be around $100,000 and the request was for a split with the County. Kesterson made a Motion to include the School System in the split of the costs, which died for a lack of a 2nd. Tucker made a Motion to remove the County from the split and have the School System and the Town of Dandridge share the costs. 2nd Kesterson-Failed 5-3 with Scarlett, Kesterson and Tucker voting Yes. No other action was taken on the issue.

The Committee reviewed the County Operating Budget for the second time. Director of County Finance Helton stated that the anticipated revenues total $18,934,698.  The County Operating Budget expenditures, as presented, leave the County $810,000 in the red for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. Helton said that usage of more than $500,000 from fund balance that was allotted to balance last yearís budget will not be necessary, as the projected overage did not occur, thus will be available for usage in balancing any overages in the project 2012-2013 budget.

The Committee heard from non profit organization Safe Space, which is a shelter and outreach and educational source for domestic violence, regarding their funding request. During the current fiscal year, Safe Space returned to the Commission for reinstatement of their County contribution, which had been halved during the budgeting process. At that time the non profit was in danger of losing grant money that it depended on for daily function because it did not have non designated match funds, which the County contribution had previously been allocated for. The representative of Safe Space stated that the non profit will, again, face the loss of necessary grants if their funding is cut.

During the last fiscal year, non profits County contributions were drastically reduced and several non profits, such as Meals on Wheels and Safe Space,  requested a return to the amount of funding that they had historically received from Jefferson County prior to the last fiscal year. Others, such as the Boys and Girls Club, requested an increase due to costs associated with increased service in the County. Upon a Motion from Kesterson and a 2nd from Committee Member Tabor, the Committee voted 6-2 (Tucker and Scarlett -No) to fund all non profit organizations at the same amount as the current fiscal year (with no increases or return to previous funding amount) and cut Safe Space funding to last yearís original funding level of $4,000.

The Committee heard a request from the Jefferson City Fire Chief to fund the Jefferson City Fire Department at the $55,000 level that is allocated for full stations, rather than last fiscal yearís $26,000 level of funding. He stated that the Jefferson City Fire Department will be responsible for many County buildings, including the hospital and new E-911 combination facility. Committee Member Solomon made a Motion to leave the Fire Department funding levels at the same rate as last yearís funding. 2nd Estes. An amendment was offered by Estes to include a proposed substation in the Swannsylvania Community, as well as Parrots Chapel, Jefferson City and Baneberry at the $25,151 funding level. 2nd Tucker- Motion Failed. The original Motion Passed.

The Committee began discussion on identifying an avenue to cut the departmental budgets. Helton stated that the Committee requested a 3% cut from all departments, however some were not able to attain that level of cut due to mandated increases. He said that the largest balance of increase was in areas beyond the control of department heads, such as retirement, health insurance increased and in creases in other insurance. Helton stated that a 3% cut from last yearís original numbers would require a much deeper cut of 7-10 % due to increases beyond the department headís control. Department heads, including Mayor Palmieri, stated that further cuts were not possible without laying off personnel because of increases beyond their control.

The Committee Approved the budgets of the Election Commission, Board of Equalization, and approved and cut the budgets of the Office of the Mayor and the Register of Deeds and Zoning Compliance - on a split vote - before addressing the County Buildings Budget. Six Motions were proposed to address the County Buildings Budget, five of which died for lack of a 2nd and one that was voted down in a tie vote. Motions were then offered to send the budget back to department heads for cuts of an undetermined amount, which was offered by Solomon and 2nd by Beeler (second withdrawn and Motion dies for lack of 2nd) and by Tabor to Fund all departments at last yearís level .2nd by Beeler and Failed 6-2.

Committee Member Mills offered a Motion that would supersede all previously approved action on the County Operating Budget. Millís made a Motion to fund all departments contained in the County Operating Budget, which excludes Highway department, Sanitation Department, School System and E-911, Capitol Projects and Debt Fund, at last yearís level of original funding or the funding level request in this years budget proposal ( the smaller of the two), with the addition of mandated raises and line item increases from lines 186-212, which deal with the health insurance and retirement benefits and other expenditures of that nature. 2nd Tabor Ė Amendment to include the School System was withdrawn - Millís original Motion Passed 6-2 with Tucker and Scarlett voting No.  The Meeting was Adjourned.


REPUBLICAN PRIMARY DEBATES FINALIZED FOR JUNE

 

The Republican Women of the Future and the Jefferson County Republican Women will host two separate debates at the Jefferson County Rescue Squad building in June between candidates vying for the Republican nominations to offices in the Tennessee Legislature representing all or portions of Jefferson County. Following the 2010 census, Jefferson County has seen its districting lines for state-level and local-level representation shift significantly. While giving Republican primary voters an opportunity to meet the candidates vying for their votes in the August 2nd Republican primary, the Republican Womenís groups aim to help voters better understand how district boundaries have been redrawn.

The first debate will take place on June 15th between candidates for the 11th and 17th Tennessee House districts. The 11th district is comprised of roughly 45% Jefferson County voters and 55% Cocke County voters. Candidates for the 11th district race include, in alphabetical order: Rep. Jeremy Faison (incumbent) and Phil Morgan, both small business owners/operators. The 17th district is comprised of about 55% Jefferson County voters and 45% Sevier County voters. Candidates for the 17th district race include, in alphabetical order: Larry Boggs, a retired businessman; Andrew Farmer, an area attorney; and Roger Griffith, an engineer.

The second debate will take place the following week on June 22nd between candidates for the 8th Tennessee Senate district, formerly Tennesseeís 4th Senate district. Four candidates, in alphabetical order, have qualified to run in the Republican primary for the 8th Senate district:

Department of Education Makes Multiple Shifts in Administration
 

The Department of Education has confirmed that there will be several administrative shifts in School and Central Office Administration for the 2012-2013 school year. Director of Jefferson County Schools Edmonds stated that there are several Principal shifts, however the moves are basically lateral and involve current Department of Education employees. Maury Middle School Principal Craig Day will make the move to the Principal ship of Jefferson Elementary School. Former Jefferson Elementary School Principal Ruth Pohlman will assume a portion of exiting McFallís responsibility as the Supervisor of Secondary Education in the Central Office Administration. Dayís position at Maury Middle School will be filled in a cross County transfer of Michele Walker, who has served as Principal of Rush Strong School during the last school year. The position of Principal at Rush Strong School is still open and will be filled before the beginning of the school year. Kristi Waltke, who recently moved to Dandridge Elementary as Assistant Principal, has been moved to the head position of Piedmont School. Dr. Edmonds did not make any declaration of who will fill the Assistantship at Dandridge Elementary School. Jim Hodge, who has served in a grant position previously, will move into the Assistant Principal position at White Pine School. That position was recently vacated by Sam Hollingshead, who is second in command at the new elementary school. The only schools currently unaffected by the transfer of administrators are New Market Elementary School and Talbott Elementary School. Jefferson County High School may experience some curriculum shifts that will affect personnel, however there is no indication of Administrative changes at this time.

 

Jeff Brantley (Union County); Cynthia Jackson (Hawkins County); Frank Niceley (Jefferson County); and Hobart Rice (Jefferson County).

Doors will open on both nights on June 15th and 22nd at 6:00pm to give attendees an opportunity to meet with candidates prior to the debate beginning at 7:00pm. Candidates will be given three minutes to introduce him/herself and make an opening statement to the crowd. Questions may be submitted from the audience in written form beginning at 6:30pm and will be accepted until 7:30pm on the evening of the event. Questions may be submitted in advance to bettyfain@charter.net or hokesue@aol.com. A vetting committee will review submissions, prior to them being forwarded to the debate moderator on the evening of the event. Similar questions may be consolidated to streamline the debate process. Questions should be relatively short and to the point and must be in written form. Questions must be directed toward all candidates on the panel, giving each one an opportunity to address the crowd on the issue. No questions will be taken from the floor. Questions perceived by the vetting committee to be a personal attack on any candidate will not be forwarded to the moderator. A different candidate will go first with each new question presented to prevent the same candidate from answering first each time and, thus, provide a fair rotation amongst the participants. Candidates will have two minutes to answer each question. If one candidate mentions another candidate in his or her response, the candidate about whom the reference was made will be allotted an additional 60 seconds to respond. At 8:15pm, the moderator will cease questions and allow the candidates to make a three minute closing statement or summation to the crowd. Time limits will be enforced.

While these scheduled debates are solely for the Republican candidates for the identified races on June 15th and 22nd, Republican candidates for other offices representing all or a portion of Jefferson County are welcome and encouraged to attend and meet with the voters gathered prior to and following the events on both nights. 2012 is a huge election year in our county, our state and our nation.

Itís your Republican primary. Itís your vote. The Republican Women of the Future and the Jefferson County Republican Women encourage all registered Republican voters to join them in meeting each of these candidates in June and finding out the one for whom they would like to vote in the upcoming Republican primary. A vote not cast is a vote wasted.

Information on the events are also available at www.JCGOP-TN.com and on the Jefferson County Republican Party (TN) group on Facebook.


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