CC Notes – January 17th 2017
The first full monthly meeting of 2017 was held on Tuesday, January 17, with all commissioners in attendance except David Gibson, Sonya Rimmer, and John Patterson. The meeting was moved from the traditional Monday due to the Martin Luther King holiday.
Also, my apologies for missing last month’s meeting and CC Notes. I was unable to attend the meeting due to illness.
Dana L. Carter was reappointed as a member of the Tri-County Industrial Development Board of Cumberland, Morgan, and Roane Counties. The term is for six years and will expire on January 18, 2023. John Calbert Kirby was appointed a Judicial Commissioner for a term not to exceed one year, starting January 17, 2017. Both appointments were unanimous.
The next item on the agenda was extending the Red Cross lease through January 20, 2018. The extension was approved 15 – 0. Approval was also granted for the issuance of a short term capital outlay note for $508,646. These funds will be used to pay for repairs to the South Cumberland Elementary School roof as approved in the current year’s budget. The capital outlay note is being used as a means of transferring money from the Debt Service Fund Balance to pay for this project. Due to state law, this is the process that must be followed. No additional debt is actually being accumulated by Cumberland County in this process. The resolution was passed unanimously.
A resolution was also approved for the BOE Cafeteria Fund. The BOE received additional revenue in the amount of $1,155.91 from the Federal government. The resolution made the proper budget adjustments required to accept these funds. The resolution was approved with no dissent.
BOE sales tax collections continue to be strong. Current year to date collections are $3,836,877, which is approximately $60,000 above anticipated revenue and 43.4% of the annual budgeted amount. The annual sales tax revenue budgeted for the BOE is $8,831,338. Property tax collections are at 51.5% of budget compared to 51.7% at this point last year. To date $4,341,946 has been collected. The Hotel/Motel tax collections are $399,018, or 49.3% of the $810,000 budget. Collections at this point last year were $402,375. Prisoner boarding collections are $210,012 against a budget of $300,000. Collections at this point last year were $256,558 but that was against a larger anticipated budget of $500,000.
EMS (ambulance) collections continue to lag behind projections. You will recall that we have had this issue for a few years now with billing getting behind and then being caught up, at least to some degree. This can cause significant cash flow problems with the county during certain times of the year. After being unable to get answers to what is causing the issues in the office at EMS, the Budget Committee asked for AMB/MARS, our third party billing company, to attend our last meeting. We discovered several issues of concern. Normal Accounts Receivable (AR) days in the ambulance billing industry is around sixty five. Currently, Cumberland County has an AR of 250 days. A small portion of this could be due to some older bills that AMB/MARS is helping with, but the takeaway is that we are again woefully behind in billing. This is bad for many reasons, including the cash flow issue, but it can also lead to insurance carriers refusing to pay due to lack of timely billing. We also have 412 client information claims that need attention. According to industry standards, the EMS office has more than enough employees to keep up with billing, but the Budget Committee was informed that AMB/MARS is routinely called to collect boxes of billing information to help the department catch up on the EMS billing. AMB/MARS does go out of their way to help when this happens as they are paid a percentage of the payments collected. Our AMB/MARS representative told the committee that Cumberland County is leaving money on the table. The new interim EMS Director told the Budget Committee that he is already taking actions to correct these problems.
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