CC Notes – June 15th 2015
The June 2015 regularly scheduled monthly County Commission meeting was attended by all commissioners except Commissioners Terry Carter and John Kinnunen. Commissioner Kinnunen has been out with health problems and was unable to attend the meeting.
The first resolution was to reappoint Harry Sabine and Lonnie Van Trump to the Cumberland County Library Board as well as to appoint Kaye Randolph to the Falling Water River Regional Library Board. The motion was approved 16-0. The next resolution was to accept an offer of $500 from Valerie A. Scriven to purchase property owned by Cumberland County due to delinquent taxes. The Cumberland County Delinquent Tax Committee recommended acceptance of this offer of $500 after a lower offer was earlier rejected. The resolution was approved by the full Commission unanimously.
Next, a lengthy series of routine year end budget amendments for the BOE and various county departments were approved. The costs for cleanup due to damage from the ice storm from February are beginning to come in to the county. FEMA is funding 87.5% of the cleanup costs, while Cumberland County is responsible for 12.5%. The efforts to clean up, through June, are estimated to be $3,600,000 of which Cumberland County is ultimately responsible for approximately $450,000. Complicating the matter is the fact that the funds are reimbursable by FEMA through TEMA. That means that Cumberland County must cash flow the entire sum of money and then request reimbursement which is likely to take a minimum of 30 days. This could create a cash flow issue for our county. The Budget Committee and Finance Department are monitoring the situation to prevent the County from getting in a tight financial spot during the process.
A resolution raising the Dispatch Director pay was presented for approval. The county portion, which is one third of the salary supplement, totals $2,413. The resolution was rejected in a 4-12 vote. I voted against the measure as the supplement moves the director position off of the current county salary scale and would be unfair to other county employees.
A resolution giving the Cumberland County Veterans Assistance Council (CCVAC) $29,886.50 of the restitution funds that are a part of the plea agreement with former VSO Mark Daniels was approved in a 15-1 vote with Commissioner Roy Turner voting against. There was a debate in the Budget Committee as to how much of the funds the county has received should be allocated to the council. Some wanted to give all $50,000 to the council. Jack Fogel, CCVAC coordinator, requested $25,000 as it would make the CCVAC job easier in terms of paperwork that must be filed with the government. He also noted that the council would not use the money all at once. I believe we should give the council what was requested and that we should try to make the job of the council as easy as possible. The $29,886.50 from the resolution represents the $25,000 requested plus the weekly payments that have been made toward the final sum of $100,000 that must be paid by Daniels under terms of the plea arrangement.
A Continuing Budget and Tax Rate for Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2015 was approved in a 16-0 vote. This resolution authorizes the expenditure of funds in the county at the same level as the 2014-2015 fiscal year. With the continuing budget, the property tax rate will continue to be $1.4975 per $100 of taxable property as well. The Budget Committee is working toward a final budget document and will continue looking at income, employee raises, and the school budget in future meetings.
The BOE portion of the local option sales tax continues to be strong. Year to date, collections are $104,082 above projections. May collections came in at $692,971 against a budgeted number of $665,893. Early June number look to be positive at close to $61,000 above budget as well. Property tax collections are at 100.7% of budget, and the Hotel/Motel tax is at 81.6% of budget. Total collections for the Hotel/Motel tax are $599,869 against a $734,738 estimate. Ambulance collections year to date are $2,853,789 of the $3,000,000 budget with April receipts totaling $425,488. This total includes money that was late being billed as discussed in previous newsletters. Prisoner boarding collections are at $676,397 against a $1,224,885 or 55.2% of budget. These funds are down due to fewer state prisoners being housed in our local jail.
Thank you for allowing me to serve the 4th District and Cumberland County. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at any time.
Board of Commissioners
4th District Representative