CC Notes – February 21st 2017
The February monthly meeting of the County Commission was held on Tuesday the 21st, with all commissioners in attendance. The meeting was moved from the traditional Monday due to the President’s Day holiday.
The first resolution of the evening was to unanimously accept the 2017 version of the Cumberland County Road List. No additional roads were added, but Price Lane was removed.
The County Mayor recommended the permanent appointment of Interim Director Chris Miller as the Cumberland County Emergency Medical Services Director. After an intensive search, the County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS) reviewed, evaluated, and recommended Mr. Miller. As stated previously, the Budget Committee discovered several issues of concern in the department including EMS collections lagging behind projections causing significant cash flow problems. Normal Accounts Receivable (AR) days in the ambulance billing industry is around sixty five with Cumberland County having an AR of 250 days. 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, our third party billing company, is routinely called to collect boxes of billing information to help the department catch up on the EMS billing. Our AMB/MARS representative told the committee that Cumberland County is leaving money on the table. Since Mr. Miller has taken over the department as the Interim Director, the ambulance billing process seems to have improved. We will continue to monitor the department’s progress in light of the significant issues detailed here in last month’s newsletter. The appointment was approved 18 – 0.
Application to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development for Community Development Block Grant Funds for water line extensions was unanimously approved. These funds will be used by the South Cumberland Utility District to extend water lines to unserved parts of the southern part of Cumberland County. SCUD will pay the required matching funds plus any extra funds required to complete the project.
Donations in the amount of $1,475 were made to the Library. Approval was unanimously granted and the necessary budget adjustments were made to accept these funds.
A $1,645 budget amendment was made in order to add Wi-Fi to the Courthouse and to update some of the speaker equipment in the large meeting room. The budget was revised to add the cost, and it will be adjusted in the next budget cycle to continue the Wi-Fi funding. The approval was 17 – 1 with Commissioner Tracey Scarbrough voting against the measure.
You may have noticed the prisoners housed by the Sheriff’s Department out picking up trash on state roads and on Interstate 40. The contract with the State of Tennessee was renewed to allow this relationship to continue. A budget amendment was unanimously approved for $22,425 to accept these funds and place them in the appropriate budget lines.
An adjustment of $445,000 was made to the Highway Fund to accept additional monies from the State. This State Aid revenue exceeds the original budgeted estimate, and will be used for resurfacing and rehabilitation of various county roads. The vote was 18 – 0.
Tennessee continues to lag behind many states in citizen access to quality broadband internet services. A resolution to urge the passage of the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act by the Tennessee General Assembly was unanimously passed. This bill, proposed by Governor Haslam, would provide grants and tax credits to encourage deployment of broadband to unserved areas. It also authorizes the state’s private, nonprofit electric cooperatives to provide broadband in their territories. More information can be found at www.takeactiontn.com.
And finally, Jennifer Phillips, Ron Erick, and Greg Watson were unanimously appointed as Judicial Commissioners for one year terms, starting February 21, 2017.
BOE sales tax collections were down for the December collections compared to budget. $919,037 was budgeted for the month but collections were short approximately $20,000. The year to date collections are still ahead approximately $45,000. Property tax collections are 61.1% year to date compared to 59.1% at this point last year. Hotel/Motel tax collections are at $436,565 which represents 53.9% of the annual $810,000. Collections at this point last year were $449,636. Ambulance collections, as discussed earlier, leave much to be desired. Year to date, $1,575,143 has been collected against a $3,650,004 annual budget. We are down $554,026 against budgeted projections at this point. The Budget Committee is looking for this figure to improve under the new leadership of the department. Finally, Prisoner Boarding year to date is $252,747 against a $300,000 annual budget, which is 84.2%.
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