CC Notes – August 15th and 16th 2016
August 15, 2016
All Commissioners were in attendance for the regularly scheduled monthly business meeting of the County Commission on August 15. The meeting began with Sheriff Casey Cox recognizing Deputy Rod Jackson with the Life Saving Award. On August 11, 2016, Deputy Jackson took action and saved a two year old from drowning. We are all lucky to live in a community with such highly trained and honorable individuals in the emergency services department that are willing to go the extra mile to serve our community.
The first resolution of the evening was approval of a PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement between the Industrial Development Board of Cumberland County, and Stonepeak Ceramics, Inc. Stonepeak has had multiple building projects over the years, and intends to construct additions to the original building and to the one built in 2012. A new production line will also be a part of the new additions. Given this, the Industrial Development Board has negotiated a new 15 year PILOT agreement with Stonepeak that gradually moves from 40% to 100% of tax payments during the lifetime of the agreement. The agreement was unanimously approved.
Next, the Commission unanimously agreed to extend the lease of Downtown Crossville Incorporated for an additional year until August 31, 2017. This lease is for the small stone building on Main Street that was once the patrol building many years ago. Unanimous approval was also granted for declaring surplus a school bus no longer utilized by the school system. The bus is to be donated to Putnam County and will be used by the Upper Cumberland Healthcare Coalition and Upper Cumberland EMS Directors Association. It will be modified into a transport vehicle that can haul several patients at once. The vehicle will be available for use in the 14 county Upper Cumberland area as needed. Finally, Joyce Rorabaugh was unanimously reappointed as the County Archivist with the term set to expire September 30, 2017.
No financial report was given as new numbers are still coming in for the new fiscal year.
August 16, 2016
A special session for the County Commission was held on August 16 with all members in attendance except Commissioner Dutcher. The purpose of the session was approval of the annual budget. This budget does not require a property tax increase, but it does include several important items. The total budget is approximately $95.6 million. The Board of Education accounts for 59 percent, the County General Fund is 31 percent, the Highway Department is 3 percent, and the Solid Waste department is 2.5 percent. Property tax revenues are estimated to be $21.3 million (net of a 6 percent delinquency rate). The BOE receives 41 percent of the property tax, the General Fund receives 40 percent, Debt Service receives 11 percent, and Solid Waste receives 8 percent. Sales tax income is estimated to be approximately $11.6 million with the BOE and school debt service receiving 94 percent of those funds. The budget includes $825,000 in capital expenditures. This includes a 10 percent match toward $384,000 in heart monitors for our ambulances as well as a 50/50 split of the approximated $180,000 cost of a new animal shelter. Five new vehicles are scheduled to be purchased for the Sheriff’s Department and the new county wide pay scale is fully funded.
The first resolution was to fix the tax levy for the 2016 – 2017 fiscal year. The proposed total rate was unchanged from last year. The only difference is that one cent was taken from the General Fund and moved to the Solid Waste Fund to keep good cash flow.
The tax levy was set according to the chart above in a 17 – 0 vote.
The next resolution was to approve a one-time contribution of up to $535,000 from the General Fund for replacing the roof and for mortar repair at South Cumberland Elementary School. North Cumberland needs similar work completed as both schools have significant leaks. The BOE was able to provide the funds to fix North Cumberland as well as sewage issues at Crab Orchard, so the Budget Committee agreed to help by funding the South Cumberland fixes with an understanding that this money does not change the county’s Maintenance of Effort (MOE) obligation to the schools. The resolution passed in a 17 – 0 vote.
The third resolution of the evening was approving the distribution of $100,000 of past due liquor by the drink revenues into the BOE budget. This agreement also held the county’s MOE obligation harmless in future years and passed 17 – 0.
The fourth resolution set the pay scale for Cumberland County (excluding the Road Department as their budget is separate) retroactive to July 1, 2016. You may recall all of the controversy concerning pay scales for county employees during the budget last year. As we agreed at that time, a professional was hired to do an independent analysis for the county. After a detailed study, a pay scale was presented to the county that would get us competitive with other surrounding and similar sized counties. Some departments, including EMS and dispatch, were being grossly underpaid, which has led to staff shortages and significant overtime costs. Other departments were closer to the minimums set in the pay scale. After a recent meeting with all department heads, the scale was finalized for approval. The scale passed in a 16 – 1 vote with Commissioner Sabine voting against. No employee received less than a 2 percent COLA.
The fifth resolution of the evening appropriated funds to the various departments, institutions, offices, and agencies of the county. It passed 16 – 1 with Commissioner Geisler voting against.
The final resolution appropriated funds to non-profit charitable organizations. These contributions have been curtailed in recent years, but there are still a few that are funded including:
Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce: $52,500
Rescue Squad: $11,000
Fair Park Senior Center: $25,775
Wags and Whiskers: $2,000
FFG Fire Department: $20,000
Veterans Honor Guard: $1,200
All of these entities are non-profit. These funds were approved in a 17 – 0 vote.
The passing of these resolutions ended the budget process for the 2016 – 2017 fiscal year – a process that was started back on April 21st. I will upload the entire budget to my website within few days, so check the ‘Documents of Interest’ page at www.allenfoster.net if you want to view the document.
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