County Mayor’s Notes – August 2nd, 2022

As of Monday, August 1st, 2022, the Cumberland County Health Department will be offering SELF-TESTS only for COVID 19.  Self-tests are available Monday – Friday from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm and are in the lobby of the Health Department.  Please call 931-484-6196 if you have questions.

Public Budget Hearing and Special Called Meeting
The Cumberland County Commission met for a public hearing followed by a special called meeting to approve the 2022-2023 budget.  All Commissioners were present except Rebecca Stone, Joe Sherrill, Jim Blalock, and John Patterson.

I say this every year because it’s true.  Budgets aren’t easy.  I want to thank everyone for all the hard work put into this one, especially the Finance Department, Nathan Brock, and Jennifer Turner.  Thanks also to the Budget Committee for all their hard work.  There are always tough issues, but we managed to get another budget done, so thanks to all.

Work began on this budget on May 5, 2022, with all day budget hearings.  Since then, Tuesday and Thursday evenings have been set aside to complete the work.  Highlights of the budget include a property tax rate reduction from $1.5653 to $1.1350.  As we have discussed in the past, when property valuations go up, the certified property tax rate goes down.  Although the County Commission could have raised the new certified rate (just as in any other year), there was no need for additional income to support the budget.  This rate is projected to bring in just over $24.4 million with a five percent reserve for delinquency.  In all, the budget comes in at $160.9 million.  The Board of Education budgets account for approximately 64 percent of that total, the county General Fund 23 percent, Debt Service six percent, the Highway Department four percent, and Solid Waste 2.5 percent.

A third party was hired to update the county salary scale and to provide recommendations.  Those recommendations again included a six percent raise for all county employees.  The medical employees of the EMS Department also received a reclassification to a higher grade which results in salaries being competitive with other departments in the area.  Four new deputies will be added if grant funding is received by the Sheriff’s Department.  If not, two new deputies will be added.  An additional person will be added at the Property Assessor’s Office, as well as at the library.  The Solid Waste department was allowed to move four positions from part time to full time.

This budget also absorbs a contribution increase to TCRS (retirement) from 5.5 percent to eight percent, and an insurance increase of eight percent that starts in January.  The cost of fuel was also projected to have a 100 percent increase over the last budget.

Capital expenditure highlights include improvements at the new Election Commission office at 83 Northside Lane, courthouse windows and landscaping, paving at the animal shelter, painting the Community Complex grandstand, 5 patrol cars, 38 body cameras, lighting for courtrooms 2-4, Pelco video surveillance system replacement (jail), fire brush and tanker trucks, 3 ambulance remounts, an animal shelter van, and Obed River Park security cameras.  The complete list will be available online with the budget in a few days. The total capital expenditures were approximately $3.5 million.

The non-profit budget is $348,000 with donations/contracts to the Chamber of Commerce, Cumberland County Playhouse, and Rescue Squad as well as the other standard donations.  An additional donation this year is a one-time amount of $150,000 for the Roane State Community College addition that will result in approximately 20 new RNs being able to graduate while attending the Cumberland County campus exclusively for classroom training.

Again, this budget absorbs all items without a tax increase.

RESOLUTION 08-02-2022-1 Fixing the Tax Levy in Cumberland County, Tennessee for the Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2022. 

There is no tax increase in this budget.  Your tax pennies will be distributed as follows:
General Fund Tax Rate $0.6917
Solid Waste/Sanitation Fund Tax Rate $0.1238
General Purpose School Fund Tax Rate $0.1310
General Debt Service Fund Tax Rate $0.1885
Total Combined Property Tax Rate $1.1350

This resolution was approved 14-0.

RESOLUTION 08-02-2022 -2 –To Approve and Adopt an Updated Wage Scale and Classification Schedule. 

The county salary scale was updated after review by a third-party company.  This resulted in an across-the-board increase of 6 percent for all employees.  The EMS Department’s medical employees were given a salary adjustment to bring them up to the market value to compete with other agencies.  There were a few other positions that had various adjustments.

This resolution was approved 12-0-2 with Commissioners Norris and Gibson abstaining.

RESOLUTION 08-02-2021-3 Making Appropriations for the Various Funds, Departments, Institutions, Offices and Agencies of Cumberland County, Tennessee, for the Year Beginning July 1, 2022, and Ending June 30, 2023. 

This is the resolution that sets the budgets for the various departments. 

This resolution was approved unanimously.

RESOLUTION 08-10-2022-4Appropriations to Non-Profit Charitable Organizations of Cumberland County, Tennessee for the Year Beginning July 1, 2022 and Ending June 30, 2023. 

This resolution approves appropriations to the various charities the county donates to such as the Cumberland County Playhouse, the Chamber of Commerce, etc. 

This resolution was approved 14-0.

RESOLUTION 08-02-2022-5Authorizing the Issuance of Interest-Bearing General Obligation Capital Outlay Notes of Cumberland County, Tennessee.

This resolution is a mechanism to use debt service fund balance reserves for capital spending.  This was done as the balance is high in the fund.  It also helps preserve cash in the General Fund Balance reserves.

This resolution was approved unanimously.

RESOLUTION 08-02-2022-6 – Election Commission, Election Officials’ Compensation.

This resolution included a slight increase in pay for election commission workers and was passed 13-0-1 with Commissioner Gibson abstaining.

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.com