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Dandridge, Tennessee

October 1, 2012 www.jeffersoncountypost.com

LEG WORK TO BEGIN FOR INDUSTRIAL PARK SITE

Planning Committee being formed to search for suitable property

Staff Photo
 
Jefferson County Budget Committee Passes Key Issues
 
The Jefferson County Budget Committee held their first organizational meeting of the 2012-2013 year on September 27, 2012 at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse. The Meeting was Called to Order by Commission Chairman Mills. Absent from Roll Call was Committee Member Blevins.

The first Agenda Item was the election of presiding officers for the Budget Committee. By affirmation, Committee Members Griffith will serve as Chairman, Dockery as Vice Chairman and Director of Jefferson County Finance Helton as Secretary.

Chairman Griffith, upon Committee request, moved agenda items to allow representatives from the Jefferson County Department of Education to be heard at the top of the agenda, to accommodate their required presence at another meeting.

Director of Jefferson County Schools Edmonds addressed the Committee regarding the Davis Bacon Wage Act. Director Edmonds stated that the Jefferson County School Board and Department of Education was unaware that the Davis Bacon Wage requirements applied to the Freshman Academy project. Committee Member Carmichael stated that the issue was between the Contractor and the Government. Director Edmonds stated that the School Board has a contract manager and that there is not a general contractor on the project. He said that hiring a contract manager is common practice in school building projects. Director Edmonds acknowledged that former Director of Jefferson County Finance Long had addressed the Commission regarding the wage requirements, however the initial bonds that were under consideration for the Freshman Academy Project (BABS) did not have wage requirements attached. He stated that it was only when the County decided to use Recovery Bonds, rather than BABS, that the issue arose. The decision to use recovery bonds resulted in rebates of around $3 million dollars, which was to the benefit of the County. According to Dr. Edmonds, the Davis Bacon wage requirement will cost the County $698,587, leaving the County a $2.2 million savings after paying the federal wage requirement. Committee Member Dockery stated that the School Board had approved the change order in May without declaring funding for the change and that it had just come before the Committee as a funding request. Committee Member Mills stated that the Commission knew about the issue, though an official funding request had not been submitted. Committee Member Carmichael stated that the public had concerns about the issue and that the oversight should never have happened. Director Edmonds stated that there was no subterfuge and that the oversight was a result of miscommunication between County departments. Committee Member Beeler made a Motion to add the $698,567 to the additional Jefferson County High School renovation bond issuance ($10 million) upon confirmation from the financial advisor. 2nd Baxley-Passed 6-3 (Dockery, Carmichaels, Maples-No).

Jefferson County Schools Director of Maintenance, Capitol Projects and Transportation Phagan brought a request for matching funding with the Town of Dandridge in the Signal Light Project. The original request for the project match was $50,000 County + $50,000 Town of Dandridge for the $100,000 option for road improvements on Dumplin Valley. Committee Member Beeler made a Motion to Approve $50,000 for the project split to come from school system fund balance. 2nd Baxley. Committee Member Dockery inquired if the $200,000 original option submitted by TDOT aligned Dumplin Valley Road. Phagan stated that the original option did align the road, however the subsequent options did not to lower funding costs. Dockery and Carmichael stated that they would like to have the road aligned, for reasons of safety and condition of the road. Carmichael stated that he is familiar with the hazards and concerns of that road and that every consideration needs to go into the project. Committee Member Dockery inquired which option would be the preference of Director Phagan, as he was one of the motivating parties in the project from its inception. Director Phagan stated that, due to the number of inexperienced drivers that travel through that intersection, his personal preference would be to align the roads. Committee Member Beeler amended his Motion to the $200,000 option with half the funding coming from the Town of Dandridge ( $100,00 ) and half to come from school system fund balance ($100,000) contingent upon approval from both bodies and with a default amount of $50,000 by both stakeholders. 2nd Akard-Passed 8-1 ( Baxley-No ) The Motion as amended also passed 8-1.

Phagan also requested a loan of $150,000 to be paid back by the Department of Education over time for the removal of portables. The payment to be funded from savings from portable unit leases. Committee Member Beeler made a motion to Approve $150,000 from school system fund balance to use for portable removal. 2nd Dockery- Passed.

Jefferson County Finance Director Helton brought a County General Fund Budget Amendment and informed the Committee that the Department of Education could have another grant that would need quick approval. The decision date on the grant was Friday afternoon.

Committee Member Dockery made a Motion to fund Parrotts Chapel Fire Department at full station funding ($55,000) which would require $29,849 in additional funds. 2nd Carmichael. Committee Member Mills stated that he favors cutting funding for any department that does not submit a quarterly report and that fire department funding is continuing to grow. He stated that he would like to fund the fire association and let the association split the funding according to calls and coverage area. Beeler stated that he has an issue with Parrotts Chapel having a long term lease on their property rather than ownership. Dockery stated that the property meets the needs of the department and that every area of the County is different geographically, as are their needs. The motion to fund Passed 6-3 (Mills, Baxley, Beeler –No).

Committee Member Carmichael made a motion to reinstate Baneberry funding to the full amount (additional $ 29, 849 to reach the $55,000 full funding level), citing that the funding cut may have been uninformed. 2nd Baxley-Passed

EMS Director Brad Phillips brought a funding request for lifts for ambulances to assist with patient and employee safety. Director Phillips will return with additional information as per the Capitol Request Policy.  The Meeting was Adjourned.

IDB Committee to Search for New County Industrial Park

EDOC Director Brad Maul Takes New Regional Position with TVA

 

The Jefferson County Industrial Development Board voted to initiate sub committee meetings when they convened on Friday morning. The IDB had previously decided to bring considerations for appropriate appointments to a Planning Committee that will be responsible for locating and doing the leg work on property that is suitable for a Business or County Industrial Park. In Friday’s meeting, it was determined that at least five of the current IDB members would sit on the Planning Committee. The remaining members of the Committee will be determined at a later time, however the plan is to bring in individuals that can contribute in multi faceted ways to the committee. The IDB members that will sit on the Planning Committee are Alex Miller, Larry Masters, Brad Jenkins, Tom Hodge and Darrell Keck. The IDB discussed the need to include representatives from the County Commission, as they are the funding body, and some representation from those that would provide utility services, for feasibility of any proposed property. The Board discussed the need to make contact with municipalities and maintain a relationship between the cities and the Planning Committee. The Chamber of Commerce will assist the Planning Committee, as will EDOC. EDOC Director Brad Maul announced that he will be leaving Jefferson County to take a regional position with TVA. Maul will exit his position in October and will move to the greater Nashville area for his new position. Maul reported that there has been some interest in property in the Jefferson City area and that he has submitted property for consideration in an Industrial Project. Two companies are looking at existing buildings in Jefferson City and the Nashua Company is looking to sell extra acreage and lease extra building space. There has been some interest expressed in the Dandridge and Jefferson City areas for restaurants, as well as retail. Maul stated that consumer confidence is the key to growth and that if consumer confidence continues to rise, the County should see increased activity in the next 12-18 months. After the Adjournment of the Industrial Development Board, the Planning Committee briefly convened to set the time for an October organizational meeting. The Planning Committee will meet on October 11, 2012 at 8 am at the First Peoples Bank in Jefferson City.

 

USDA TO DISTRIBUTE RACCOON RABIES VACCINATION IN SELECTED EAST TENNESSEE COUNTIES

 
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has been informed that the United States Department of Agriculture will begin distributing an oral rabies vaccine for wild raccoons in selected areas in the southeast, including 15 counties in East Tennessee.

The goal of the program is to stop the spread of the raccoon variant rabies in Tennessee. The oral rabies vaccine is placed inside a fishmeal block or coated with fishmeal. The block and/or the coating is made with fishmeal and oil that is known to attract raccoons.

The vaccine will be distributed by ground crews and from fixed wing aircraft. Raccoons that eat the vaccine-laced bait will become immune to rabies.

Depending on the weather, the project is scheduled to begin on Oct. 2 and conclude in 16 days. The target area will include portions of Bradley, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Polk, Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hawkins, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties.

The USDA is offering the following tips:
• Do not attempt removal of the ORV bait from your pet’s mouth, as you could be bitten. Eating these baits will not harm your pet.
• Confine your pet and look for other baits in the area. These baits should be removed from where your pet could eat them.
• Instruct children to leave the baits alone.
• Wear gloves or use a towel when you pick up the bait. Although there is no harm in touching undamaged bait, they have a strong fishmeal smell. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water if there is any chance that the vaccine sachet has been ruptured.
• There is a warning label placed on each bait advising people not to touch the bait. The warning also contains the rabies information-line telephone number.


Jefferson County Employment Numbers Down
One of only two counties posting a decline in August numbers.

 
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development released unemployment numbers from August and Jefferson County was one of two counties in the State that showed an increase in unemployment. The unemployment rates decreased in 90 counties across the State and remained stagnate in three counties. The State unemployment numbers (8.5%) exceeds the National percentage of 8.1%. The Nation has seen a small improvement over July numbers, however the State seasonally adjusted numbers showed a slight increase. Jefferson County increased from a 10.6% to a 10.7%, locally. That number does not reflect any seasonal adjustment. Jefferson County unemployment rate also exceeds all other areas in both the Morristown and Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical areas. 34 counties in the State of Tennessee have an unemployment rate of greater than 10%. Though the unemployment numbers in Jefferson County have stubbornly remained above 10%, the County is fairing much better than some of its counterparts. The top ten counties with the highest unemployment rates range from 11.7% in White County to 17.5% in Scott County. The State’s lowest unemployment rate belongs to Lincoln County, which has a 5.7% unemployment rate. Knox County has the 4th lowest unemployment rate in the State at 6.7%. Jefferson County has seen very little change in unemployment numbers, posting a 10.6% unemployment rate in July of 2011.

Fighting Increases in Aleppo, Syria

By Jake Depew, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer
 

Fighting has escalated in Aleppo, Syria, this past Saturday, September 29,2012, with repeated military clashes and a raging fire causing significant damage to the city. Syrian Arab News Agency has stated that in Saturday’s clashes dozens of rebels were killed in action, and many more were routed from hideouts and controlled neighborhoods. A large portion of the fighting is centered around the city’s vast marketplace, with the covered pathways acting as a large maze throughout a section of the city.

Aleppo was once considered to be a stronghold for the national forces of al-Assad, and fighting has raged almost nonstop in the city. A fire was set sometime Saturday night, continuing until Sunday afternoon. The fire has destroyed many historical buildings in its wake. The city of Aleppo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site: its many historical buildings and massive ancient cathedral have been deemed historically and culturally significant to the Islamic people.

Concern is rising that Aleppo’s historical landmarks and buildings will be forever lost in the fighting, with Sok An, chair of the group’s heritage committee, urging both sides of the conflict to value the importance of Aleppo’s heritage. According to the LCC, 126 people were killed across Syria on Saturday, with as many as 64 of those deaths occurring in or around the Damascus area. At the time of this writing, it is unknown the full extent of damage Aleppo has sustained, nor a reliable report of deaths in the city.

Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan Visits Knoxville for Fundraising Event

 
Photo and Article by Robin Archer, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer / Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam & Governor Bill Haslam
 
On Thursday September 27, 2012, Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan came to East Tennessee to raise campaign funds and address the local Republican Party. As is customary, the fundraising luncheon was closed to the public, however, close to three hundred Tennesseans attended the event in Knoxville. Tennessee has long been considered a “red” State and the Romney/Ryan ticket did well at Thursday’s event.

A group of around two dozen protesters were on hand to promote their causes and make public their opinions. 15th Legislative District Rep. Joe Armstrong was among the protesters voicing his opinion regarding some State republican and bi partisan policies. His concern was regarding the recently instigated new voter laws requiring photo identification, which he fears are preventing or intimidating seniors and other citizens during the current election season.

Many local and State officials were present to offer their support to the Romney/Ryan team. Governor Bill & First Lady Crissy Haslam were in attendance at the event. Governor Haslam, who has acquired a record as a fiscal conservative during his brief time in the Governor’s Mansion, The Governor told Jefferson County Post Reporter Robin Archer, “I think that our country’s concern is that we know we can’t keep going spending more than we're bringing in, and I think that Paul has done the hard work on the budget to say here’s a plan that will do it. He’s actually shown leadership on that, that the President hasn’t shown. So I think what you have are people who are looking forward to hearing his explanation of here’s what we will do if we have a chance to govern.”

 
Photo by Robin Archer, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer
 
Malory Frasier- "I feel really strongly about the recent discussion of women’s rights in the Republican Party. I find it really disturbing what they’re doing trying to take us back to the 50’s. I feel like I need to speak out against that."
 

Military and Overseas Ballots on the Way

Secretary of State Tre Hargett
 

All 95 counties in Tennessee have informed the Secretary of State’s Division of Elections that they have met state and federal requirements for mailing absentee ballots to military personnel and other Tennessee citizens living outside the United States.

The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act requires ballots to be mailed to all overseas voters who have properly requested them no later than 45 days before the election.

However, voters living overseas who did not request ballots before the 45-day deadline still have the opportunity to do so by completing Form 76, the federal absentee write-in request form. Also, Tennessee residents who wish to vote absentee may request ballots from their county election offices through Oct. 30.

Ballots must be received by the county election offices by Nov. 6 in order to be counted.

For questions about absentee voting, please contact your local election office, call the state Division of Elections toll-free at 1-877-850-4959 or visit www.GoVoteTN.com.


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