County Mayor’s Notes – May 16th, 2022

Thank you to the Young Marines for opening the evening with the Pledge to the Flag as noted in the picture. They always do a great job!

Cumberland County Schools Update
Director of Schools Dr. Ina Maxwell reports that there are zero cases of COVID-19 and zero quarantines for students/staff.

Important dates for next week:
Monday, May 16: SMHS Class Night
Tuesday, May 17: CCHS Class Night
Wednesday, May 18: Phoenix High School Graduation
Thursday, May 19: SMHS Graduation
Friday, May 20: CCHS Graduation

Property Reappraisal
There are more details below, but suffice it to say, when property valuations go up, the certified property tax rate goes down.

My office staff and I have received a lot of calls, questions, and emails about the property reappraisal notices that went out recently.  I understand the shock of the increased valuation.  My home and property had a significant increase as well.

Your best source for information regarding these notices is the Assessor of Property’s Office.  They will informally hear complaints and explain the valuations to you.  There is also a Board of Equalization in place that will hear complaints concerning these valuation issues that can’t be handled informally.

That being said, we are lucky to live in the great state of Tennessee! Here, when property valuations go up, the certified property tax rate goes down.  Our current property tax rate is $1.5653.  I expect it to drop to around $1.15, or perhaps less.  We will know for sure after the Board of Equalization completes its work. When that happens, the State will set a new certified rate that will take in approximately the same amount of dollars as the old rate. Your tax burden will not increase substantially like your valuation did.

Peavine Convenience Center Issue
The compactor is down at the Peavine Road convenience center.  We have set up recycling boxes for household trash and have an extra employee on site to help with traffic.  This means the trash will fill up more quickly than normal causing the boxes to be emptied more frequently.  We are still accepting recycling as well.  Please be patient if you use the Peavine Road convenience center.  Parts are ordered and we hope to have the compactor operational by Friday.

Cumberland County Commission Meeting
The May 2022 meeting of the Cumberland County Commission was held tonight with all Commissioners in attendance except Sue York and Jim Blalock.  The following resolutions were considered, with the sponsor being in parenthesis.

RESOLUTION 05-2022-1 – TO ACCEPT OFFER(S) TO PURCHASE DELINQUENT TAX PROPERTY OWNED BY CUMBERLAND COUNTY (HYDER)
The following delinquent tax properties were approved for purchase and will now go back on the tax rolls.  The commission approved the resolution unanimously.

Offerers                                  Property                                                         Price                Ad
Rebecca Inman                       77H E 10.00/184 Canterbury Anglewood Dr. $271.40           $45
Donald & Deidre Walker        77M L 23.00/145 Lake Glastowbury Lane      $469.10           $45
Jeff & Cherish Conner            142O A 35.00/Evergreen Circle                      $269.00           $45

The following school resolutions were approved 15-0-1 with Commissioner Cooper abstaining (he is an employee of the school system).  The General Fund resolution was approved unanimously:

  • RESOLUTION 05-2022-2 – GENERAL PURPOSE SCHOOL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, SUMMER LEARNING PROGRAMS $1,811.17 (MALL)
  • RESOLUTION 05-2022-3 – GENERAL PURPOSE SCHOOL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, MAINTENANCE SAFETY GRANT $19,500.00 (MALL)
  • RESOLUTION 05-2022-4 – GENERAL PURPOSE SCHOOL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, NORTH KIDS CLUB GRANT $57,095.58 (MALL)
  • RESOLUTION 05-2022-5 – FEDERAL PROGRAMS SCHOOL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, FISCAL PRE-MONITORING SUPPORTS GRANT $46,200.00 (MALL)
  • RESOLUTION 05-2022-6 – GENERAL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES $1,500.00 (THREET)

RESOLUTION 05-2022-7 – TO ADOPT A PRIVATE ACT CREATING THE CUMBERLAND PLATEAU WATER AUTHORITY (FOSTER)
As was mentioned in February, Cumberland County needs a water source to provide for long term, future growth.  This private act was written by a lawyer at the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts (TAUD) that is an expert in this field.  I was asked about this issue frequently during my first campaign for Mayor and it has continued throughout my term. 

Things of this nature can sometimes be difficult as they are somewhat visionary in nature.  It can require individuals to look past themselves and their own interests to plan for a future that can seem a bit distant.  A future that is more about our kids and grandkids than about ourselves.

As a brief review, this is a private act that would allow the water utilities to pool resources to ensure we have enough water in the future.  It may differ from some other attempts in that it does not force any action by any water utility.  This act would allow the utility districts to:

  • Do nothing and keep everything the same as it is now, or
  • Merge into one large water authority, or
  • Anything in between.  The districts could choose to participate in creating a new water source together or just continue as is.

The act also protects current employees, pay, and benefits.  It should also help with securing TDEC money and assistance for a water source as we have been told time and again that a regional approach is necessary. This private act will lay any groundwork needed to make this happen. 

Passing a private act is a three-step process.  First, the County Commission must request the act to be created by the state legislature with a 2/3 majority vote (completed at the February meeting).  Second, the state legislature must pass it and the Governor must sign (this was passed, unanimously by both the House and Senate, and signed by the Governor on May 3).  Third, the County Commission must approve the final private act as approved by the state. 

The resolution to approve the final act was 16-0.

Financial Update
EMS collections for the month were $309,228 which is $24,105 below the monthly budgeted amount of $333,333.  Year to date we have collected $3,737,119 which is $403,789 above projections.

Sales tax collections for the General Purpose School Fund came in at $999,451 which is approximately $139,640 above projections.  Year to date we have collected $10,026,816 and are approximately $858,597 above budget.

Property tax collections year to date are approximately 100.1%.  Last year we had collected 99.4% of revenue.

Cumulative Hotel/Motel taxes are $885,712 which is 109.5% of the budgeted amount of $808,712.  Last year, with a smaller budgeted amount of $668,166, we had collected $564,887, or 84.5% of budget, at this point.

Cumulative Prisoner Boarding collections are unchanged at $268,086, or 44.5% of the $602,396 annual budget.  Last year we were at $305,409, or 50.7% of the $602,396 annual budget.  Payments for prisoner boarding are somewhat sporadic from the state.

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