CC Notes – December 18th 2017
All Commissioners were in attendance for the final meeting of the year of the full Cumberland County Commission except Sonya Rimmer. The agenda was short, as was the meeting. Before the meeting began, the Solid Waste Department was recognized for significant reduction in landfill waste. The State of Tennessee has mandated a 25 percent per capita reduction in Class 1 waste. In the latest report, Cumberland County has reduced Class 1 landfill waste by 71 percent. Mayor Carey recognized Director Mike Harvel for the department’s efforts.
The first resolution of the evening was to declare a vehicle no longer utilized by the Solid Waste Department as surplus property to be donated to the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) here in Crossville. The van in question has a value of approximately $1,500 and has been retired from use by the department. TCAT is in need of a van and the motion to approve the surplus was approved unanimously.
The first budget amendment discussed was required in order to add an additional $5,000 to purchase property at the Art Circle Public Library site. In my July newsletter, I mentioned that Cumberland County was recently notified that a portion of the Art Circle Public Library and parking lot were built on land owned by Norfolk Southern Railroad. The building of the library predates my time on the Commission, but in an effort to resolve the issue the Building and Grounds Committee recommended that the County pay the $40,000 sales price requested by the railroad. That $40,000 was allocated for the purchase, but Norfolk Southern Railroad changed the price to $45,000. The options are to pay, or to be sued. In addition to the fact that owning the land a county building is built on is a necessity, purchasing the land is the less costly route. The resolution to approve the additional funds was approved 17-0.
Commissioner Patterson has been working with the Elks Lodge and the organization has agreed to donate $1,500 toward improvements to the Cumberland County Military Memorial Museum building. The directors of the Military Memorial Museum will work with the County Mayor to spend the funds where they are most needed. The funds were unanimously accepted.
Finally, the creation of a new position on the County Pay Scale for a Basic Emergency Medical Services Technician was discussed. This was not for the addition of new personnel. It was for discussion of adding a new job description to the salary schedule. Currently, our EMS department only hires Advanced EMTs and Paramedics, with one each assigned per ambulance each shift. When individuals graduate from their EMT training, they are at the Basic level. Approximately six more months of training are required to receive the Advanced EMT status. With this new position our EMS department will have the ability to hire Basic EMTs right out of school with a base pay that is approximately $1.17 per hour less than the Advanced EMTs. The implementation of this new position is not a cost savings measure, but rather one to ensure we secure the best candidates for positions in the EMS department – candidates that are currently being hired by other counties. The job description for a Basic EMT requires the individual to attain the Advanced EMT status within one year of hire, and guarantees them a raise to the Advanced EMT level at that time. The position was approved 17-0.
Also of note, Mayor Carey informed the Budget Committee recently that he had just found out the COPS Grant to fund three more deputies in the Sheriff’s Department was denied. Also, a non-matching grant for shelving was submitted by the Archives for $5,000, but only $3,500 was approved. This money will still help with their needs.
Local option sales tax collections for the BOE in November were $779,901 which is $26,796 less than projected. Even though sales tax collections were budgeted conservatively compared to the increase budgeted by the State of Tennessee, collections year to date are below budget by $82,545. Indications are that sales for Christmas are strong so we are hoping for a rebound. Estimated property tax collections are 24.5 percent year to date compared to 22.7 percent this time last year. Hotel/Motel tax collections year to date are $354,869, or 43.8 percent of budget which is ahead of last year’s 42.3 percent.
Total EMS collections are $1,480,011, which is behind budget year to date by $144,989. In discussions with EMS Director Chris Miller during the last Budget Committee meeting, we found that the billing is up to date from the county’s perspective, and the problem seems to be with our third-party billing company. The company has experienced recent growth, and we have been assigned a new account manager by them as well. A conference call has been scheduled with the billing company, the EMS Director, and the County Mayor to find out when the backlog of billing will be alleviated. EMS overtime was a concern in the last budget. Measures have been implemented to help minimize this while still providing the same level of service. Year to date, 50.11 percent of the EMS overtime budget has been spent compared to 70.1 percent at this time last year. These numbers seem to indicate the improvements are working. The addition of the new Basic EMT position should continue to improve the situation.
Prisoner Boarding payments for holding State prisoners in our local jail are received sporadically. At this point, the county has received $170,859 for three months of services. This represents 32.5 percent of the annual budget of $525,000.
Fuel costs are below the budgeted amount of $2 per gallon for both diesel and gasoline, and usage is tracking well. Currently, the average cost paid for diesel for the year has been $1.88 per gallon, and the average paid for gas has been $1.71 per gallon.
Merry Christmas, and 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