County Mayor’s Notes – December 17th, 2018
Broadband is an issue that is brought to my attention on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Since taking office, I have talked with the FCC, the State of Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development, and virtually all of the broadband providers in Cumberland County. Several are looking to expand service offerings with grants a key factor in that expansion. You may have noticed that no provider in Cumberland County applied for a grant with the state during the latest round. One of the major reasons is the accuracy of the broadband maps that show available service to county residents. Grants are only available to those areas that do not have a minimum of 10Mbps service available. Unfortunately, the provider-submitted data for Cumberland County is inaccurate. The state does now have a provision to allow for community input to help determine if an area is grant eligible. I may be asking for your help in the future on that issue. I also believe the minimum speed set for the grants is too low and should be increased to 25Mbps. There are other issues as well, but I want you to know what I am doing to address this one, and I will continue to do so until Cumberland County is provided with the service we deserve.
TCAT. Cumberland County is blessed to have the Tennessee College of Applied Technology here in Crossville. Students graduate from the TCAT prepared with the skills needed to make a good living and to be a productive part of our community. I was honored to speak at the TCAT graduation ceremony on December 10 at the First United Methodist Church. Congratulations again to the new graduates. Well done! I was also able to speak to Mr. Michael DiBiccaro’s Honors Economics class recently. We have some great students here in Cumberland County. The future is bright.
I have also been working on other economic and community development issues. Crossville Mayor James Mayberry and I recently attended a seminar that detailed the new Opportunity Zones that were announced with the tax revision bill. This is a promising incentive that could produce good growth for Cumberland County.
You may have noticed that the county website, www.cumberlandcountytn.gov, is getting a new look. Check it out, and if you have content suggestions please email me and we will try to incorporate them into the new site.
The December 17th meeting of the full County Commission was held with all in attendance. The following items were addressed during the meeting.
The following resolutions were approved (resolution sponsor in parenthesis):
RESOLUTION 12-2018-1 To appoint Conrad Welch as Cumberland County Building Maintenance Supervisor (Foster). The current Maintenance Supervisor requested to step out of the supervisor role, but agreed to keep the position until a new person could be hired. After interviewing several highly qualified candidates, I recommended Conrad Welch for the position. The Commission approved the appointment in a unanimous vote.
RESOLUTION 12-2018-2 To release county owned right-of-way to property owner (Kyle Davis). The county owns a right of way on Deep Draw road. The Cumberland County Highway Director and the Environmental Committee agreed that there are no current, or future, plans for use of the property and recommended the right of way be returned. A title search was performed on the right-of-way, but a question was brought up concerning the desire to sell the property to the adjacent property owners. The issue was sent back to the Environmental Committee to discuss if additional procedures are needed.
RESOLUTION 12-2018-3 To accept offer of Byron C. and Jan L. Long to purchase property owned by Cumberland County (Hyder). The Delinquent Tax Committee recommended an offer of $374.40 for the purchase of this property. This will return the property to the tax rolls after it had been removed due to property taxes not being paid for several years. The resolution was approved unanimously.
RESOLUTION 12-2018-4 To accept offer of Kirk and Donna Walser to purchase property owned by Cumberland County (Hyder). The Delinquent Tax Committee recommended an offer of $462.90 for the purchase of this property. This will return the property to the tax rolls after it had been removed due to property taxes not being paid for several years. The resolution was approved unanimously.
RESOLUTION 12-2018-5 Budget Amendment, General Fund, Veterans Services, $2,221.00 (Patterson). Toward the end of my term on the County Commission, the review of the Veterans Service Officer position was requested by several Commissioners. This duty fell to me as the incoming Mayor. I asked that the position be reviewed by Organizational Management Group, the county’s salary and benefit consultant. It was determined that the position should be classified as “exempt” which will result in an increase in pay for our VSO. We are blessed to have a department with great staff that serves our Veterans here in Cumberland County. The resolution passed unanimously.
RESOLUTION 12-2018-6 Budget Amendment, General Fund, Jail, $6,800.00 (York). The Sheriff received a grant from the state to install silent panic buttons to enhance court security. The grant match was for $680 and was approved 18-0 by the Commission.
RESOLUTION 12-2018-7 To authorize the Finance Department to prepare and issue a request for proposals for a market and financial feasibility study (Wilson). This final resolution came from the Building and Grounds Committee, requesting a study be conducted on the feasibility of a multipurpose event facility in Cumberland County. The resolution was amended to allow for the possibility of grant funding for 50% of the project. The resolution was approved unanimously.
Sales tax collections through November are $3,271,072. The November receipts are $787,757 which is $9,692 below budget. For the year, collections are $73,514 above budgeted projections. Property tax collections are at 23.7% compared to 24.5% at this point last year. Hotel/Motel collections are $347,889 year to date compared to $354,869 last year. That is 39.3% of the annual Hotel/Motel budgeted income. Prisoner boarding, which is received sporadically from the State of Tennessee, is at $141,687 for three months which is 22.9% of budget. Ambulance collections were again above budget at $362,894 to reduce the collections deficit to $29,561. Gasoline was budgeted at a $2.25 per gallon and diesel was budgeted at $2.50 per gallon. Currently our weighted average cost for gasoline is $1.95 and diesel is $2.27. Usage is also good compared to budget.
Thank you for allowing me the honor of serving as your County Mayor. It is a privilege.
Note: The County Mayor’s Office will be closed on December 24-25 for Christmas as well as January 1 for the New Year!
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Merry Christmas and God Bless!
Cumberland County Mayor