County Mayor’s Notes – December 21st, 2020

Todays COVID-19 update follows the meeting details from tonight’s County Commission meeting.

Health Department COVID-19 Testing – Important Testing Changes
Beginning Monday, December 21, 2020, all COVID-19 testing is being moved to the Community Complex at 1398 Livingston Road, Crossville, TN 38571.  The testing will be conducted at that location for a minimum of two weeks.  At that time the site will be evaluated to determine if testing will remain at the Community Complex or if it will move back to the Health Department.

Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) COVID-19 testing sites across the state, including the Health Department testing site here in Cumberland County (located at the Community Complex, 1398 Livingston Road), will begin offering self-testing kits to adults three days a week to allow staff members to transition to vaccination of frontline health care providers and first responders.

The new COVID-19 self-tests will be offered to adults on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays beginning December 21.  On these days, public health staff members at each TDH COVID-19 testing site will provide self-testing kits to adults who wish to be tested.  Individuals will remain in their vehicles while completing paperwork and collecting their samples.  Health Departments will submit the samples for testing.

Adults tested with the new self-tests will register and receive their results online.  The self-tests are not approved for use in children under age 18.  Children and adults unable to register online can still receive the standard nasal swab COVID-19 tests on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Test results may be available within 72 hours of arrival at the lab, depending on the volume of tests the testing lab receives.  Information will be provided to participants at testing locations on what they can expect after being tested. This information is also available online at www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/documents/cedep/novel-coronavirus/TestedGuidance.pdf.

TDH county health departments will be closed and will not offer COVID-19 testing December 24 – 25 and December 31, 2020 – January 1, 2021 in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Cumberland County Commission Update
The December meeting of the Cumberland County Commission was held tonight with all Commissioners present except Commissioner John Patterson.  The meeting was held electronically with the audio livestreamed on Facebook.  If you missed it and want to listen, please check out the Listen/Watch page on county website at https://cumberlandcountytn.gov/listen/.

The first vote of the evening was on a motion to make a determination on the record that meeting electronically is necessary to protect public health, safety, and welfare in light of the coronavirus and that this motion and vote be included in the minutes of this meeting.  The motion passed unanimously.

Resolutions
The following resolutions were on the agenda (resolution sponsor in parenthesis):

RESOLUTION 12-2020-1 – EMPOWERING THE MAYOR TO NEGOTIATE THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE HOMESTEAD TOWER AS CUMBERLAND COUNTY PROPERTY (MALL).  The Homestead Tower is currently owned by the Board of Education (BOE) and is in need of significant repairs and ADA work.  This resolution authorized me to negotiate and execute an agreement with the BOE regarding the county taking ownership of the tower and property.  The resolution was approved 12-5 with Commissioners Cooper, Kyle Davis, Gibson, Seiber, and Jack Davis voting against.

RESOLUTION 12-2020-2 – ADOPTING THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) TRANSITION PLAN FOR CUMBERLAND COUNTY (BLALOCK). A transition plan for upgrading county facilities into compliance with ADA standards is required by the State of Tennessee.  A study was conducted by a third party that points out the issues that need to be addressed.  The plan was approved unanimously and can be found on the county website.

RESOLUTION 12-2020-3 – APPOINTING CUMBERLAND COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY DIRECTOR (FOSTER).  Former Emergency Management Agency Director Rick Williams has moved on to another job.  After a process that included multiple individuals reviewing, evaluating, and unanimously recommending the current Assistant, Travis Cole to be the new Director, I recommended him to be approved by the full Commission.  The resolution was approved 17-0.

RESOLUTION 12-2020-4 – GENERAL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, COUNTY CLERK $2,800.00 (GIBSON).    This resolution, approved unanimously, moved technology funds for computer technology purchases for new equipment in the Clerk’s office.

RESOLUTION 12-2020-5 – GENERAL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, CIVIL DEFENSE $3,169.00 (JACK DAVIS).  This resolution was a housekeeping item related to the hiring of the new EMA Director and was approved 17-0.

RESOLUTION 12-2020-6 – GENERAL PURPOSE SCHOOL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, BUS DRIVER STAFFING $10,000.00 (KYLE DAVIS).  This resolution allowed the BOE to move funds to enable a third party to assist in hiring new bus drivers.  It was approved unanimously.

RESOLUTION 12-2020-7 – GENERAL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, COUNTY COMMISSION $42,491.00 (KYLE DAVIS).  This resolution approved payment to the Barrett Group for work completed in the review of income and sales tax distribution.  It represents the fee from recovered monies that came back to the county and was approved 17-0.

RESOLUTION 12-2020-8 – SANITATION FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, POST CLOSURE CARE $125,000.00 (GIBSON).    The Class 1 and 3 landfills in post closure have some issues that need to be repaired as required by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.  This resolution, approved unanimously, moves money from the Sanitation Fund Balance to cover the costs.

RESOLUTION 12-2020-9 – GENERAL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, COUNTY BUILDINGS $146,896.00 (THREET).  The straight-line winds back in March of this year caused damage to some county property.  This resolution, approved 17-0, accepted the money from the insurance company and will be used to make all necessary repairs.

RESOLUTION 12-2020-10 – SPECIAL CONTRACT FOR DISLOCATED WORKER COVID-19 DISASTER RECOVERY.  The Upper Cumberland Workforce group applied for and received funding for COVID-19 related employment of workers dislocated by COVID-19.  This resolution, approved unanimously, approved that contract.

RESOLUTION 12-2020-11 – GENERAL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, COVID-19 GRANT EXPENDITURES $60,434.00 (KYLE DAVIS).  This resolution, approved 17-0, approved the budget amendment to accept the funds from the contract in Resolution 12-2020-10.

RESOLUTION 12-2020-12 – SUPPORT OF CUMBERLAND COUNTY MAYOR ALLEN FOSTER.  Many very deserved proclamations have been made to acknowledge the work done by our frontline employees during this pandemic.  Several of the Commissioners decided to create a resolution to acknowledge their thoughts on my leadership through the ongoing crisis.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not good at accepting this kind of appreciation, but I do value the sentiment.  I also appreciate the fact that the Commissioners, in such divided and polarized times, did not have to insert themselves in the fray.  The resolution was approved unanimously.

FINANCIAL REPORT
EMS collections for the month were $403,321 which is $69,988 over the monthly budgeted number of $333,333.  Year to date we are $390,674 ahead of projections. 

Sales tax collections for the General Purpose School Fund came in at $973,849 which is $91,898 above projections.  Year to date we have collected $3,866,378 and are $335,034 above budget.  You may recall that the County Commission decided to have a third party conduct a revenue audit (see Resolution 12-2020-7 above).  The increase in sales tax revenues are due in part to that audit.  We will know more soon and adjustments may be made.

Property tax collections year to date are 22.1% of budget compared to 25.4% at this point last year. 

Cumulative Hotel/Motel taxes are $289,617 which is 43.35% of the budget.  The budgeted amount was revised down for this year to $668,166 from $817,283.  Last year, with the larger budgeted amount, we had collected $329,770, or 40.3% of budget, at this point.

Cumulative Prisoner Boarding collections are $132,327, or 21.97%, of the $602,396 annual budget.  Last year we were at $251,823, 33.9%, of an annual budget of $743,000.

COVID-19 Update (difference from previous day)
According to the Governor’s Office, most new COVID-19 cases are coming from small group gatherings like weddings, showers, family events, etc.  The large increases we are seeing came from these types of smaller social gatherings – especially Thanksgiving gatherings.  With Christmas upon us this week, we must do what we can to keep from overwhelming our healthcare system. To reduce the spread, I am asking everyone to take extra care and to follow the basic rules/guidelines that are in place. 

  • If you feel sick, get tested.
  • STAY HOME after being tested until you get your result.
  • Wear a mask when appropriate.  It is not a political statement; it is about everyone’s health.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Follow the guidelines provided by Governor Lee and the CDC. 
  • Be smart and avoid places you feel are unsafe.

The following are the numbers from the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) for Cumberland County as of 5:00 PM (the state has permanently changed the time to 5:00 PM for the data release). The change from the prior day, not my prior newsletter, is in parenthesis.

795 active cases (+65)
3,909 inactive/recovered (+86)
48 deaths officially reported (+0)
3,909 positive cases (+86)
95 cumulative hospitalizations (+0)
38,916 negative tests (+343)
22.08% positivity rate – 7-day average
78.43% Inactive/Recovered
9.13% cumulative positivity rate (positive cases / positive cases + negative tests)
6.46% of residents have tested positive
1.31% of residents have active cases

These numbers are intended to be a brief summary of the information provided by the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH). More detailed information can be found at the online dashboard: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

Click here for the TDH Quarantine & Isolation Calculator:

https://covid19.tn.gov/prevention/quarantine-isolation-calculator/

A new dashboard has been released for each county.  You can now view the Cumberland County COVID-19 dashboard here:

https://covid19.tn.gov/data/dashboards/?County=Cumberland

The dashboard seems to be the last data that is updated so it can lag for several hours behind the 2:00 PM daily data release.

School level COVID-19 data is now available online.  Click this link to see the information available for Cumberland County:

https://districtinformation.tnedu.gov/covid-information/search/-1/180

Thank you for being part of the solution and thank you for the opportunity to serve as your County Mayor.  If you are interested in hearing my thoughts and views on news, events, and activities in Cumberland County, please subscribe to my newsletter, and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Thank you,

Allen Foster
Cumberland County Mayor
http://allenfoster.net

Published by allenfoster

Cumberland County Mayor

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