CC Notes – October 20th 2014
All were present for the October 20th meeting of the full Cumberland County Board of Commissioners except First District Representative Jeff Dyer. Commissioner Dyer had a previously scheduled work commitment and was unable to attend. Ray Evans updated the Commission on the Plateau Partnership Park. Work continues on the obstacles faced by the PPP, including designing a wastewater treatment facility for the site, getting natural gas service to the area, and a road at the main entrance of the industrial park. One of the strong selling points of the site is the fact that there are very few sites in the region with such a large amount of land available that also have access to an interstate and rail.
A resolution was passed approving the bond for Cumberland County Trustee Kim Wyatt. This bond is required by state law and was approved unanimously. The July minutes of the monthly County Commission meeting were changed to reflect the intent of the Board in granting the Mayor and Attorney the authority to acquire by condemnation, property for an antenna for emergency services communication. The ambulance mileage rate was increased by unanimous vote to the maximum allowed by Medicare. Boyd Brown was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Randy Elmore on the Health and Safety Standards board that expires May 15, 2017 and approval was granted for a quilt square display on the outside of the Crossville/Cumberland County Visitor Center that faces I-40. Several routine general purpose schools fund and county budget resolutions were passed as well.
A resolution from the Budget Committee was unanimously passed to release $100,000 toward hiring an engineering firm to be used to help in the process of correcting problems with the county wide communication system. This will ensure the project gets moving while protecting the interests of the county. The final resolution of the evening was one to write off bad debt owed to the Emergency Medical Services Department for ambulance charges. Balances of approximately $13,000,000 that were over one year old and that have been determined to be uncollectable were adjusted upon recommendation of the State of Tennessee Comptroller’s Office and AMB-MARS, the county’s third-party billing company. Some of the bad debt originated in 1992 and needed to be removed from the books many years ago. The vote was 13 – 4 in favor of the resolution with Commissioners Hyder, Wilson, Farley, and Kinnunen voting no.
Property Tax collections are at four percent for the year which compares favorably to the same time last year. Hotel/Motel tax collections in the amount of $168,145 represent 23 percent of the budgeted amount of $734,738. Ambulance collections are $485,109 of an annual budget of $3,000,000. This is 16.2 percent of the budget compared to 8 percent at this time last year. A monthly average collection of $250,000 is needed to make this budgeted amount. Prisoner boarding collected from the State of Tennessee is at $170,866 for the first two months of the fiscal year. This is 13.9 percent of the $1,224,885 annual budgeted income. Sales tax through September for the Board of Education total $1,424,259 which is $16,908 above budgeted figures, year to date.
Veterans’ Services Officer Update
The County Commission was recently informed that the State of Tennessee has entered into a plea agreement with Mark Daniels, the former Cumberland County Veteran’s Services Officer. Daniels was charged with a class ‘B’ felony for theft over $60,000. The agreement entailed Daniels entering a plea of guilty to a class ‘C’ felony for which he received an eight year sentence, suspended to probation. In addition to this, a check for $50,000 was given to the county, with weekly payments of $175 to be made until an additional $50,000 has been paid. Daniels will also take out a personal notice in the Crossville Chronicle which acknowledges his guilt, takes responsibility for the abuse of his position of public trust, and acknowledges his abuse of vulnerable segments of our population. I strongly believe that all of this money should be spent directly on the Veterans of our county. The Budget Committee will be meeting with the new VSO in the near future to determine the distribution of these funds.
Those that have natural gas provided by Upper Cumberland Gas may have been following the recent actions to merge with Middle Tennessee Natural Gas. The two utility companies have voted to merge. This would result in approximately 33 percent savings on monthly bills for customers of Upper Cumberland Gas. As a part of the process, the County Mayor must hold a hearing to determine if the merger will be allowed to proceed. The Mayor announced that this public hearing will be held this Thursday, October 23, at 11:30 AM in the large meeting room at the Cumberland County Courthouse. Anyone interested is welcome to attend and ask questions and provide opinions on the merger. I have had several calls concerning this merger, and urge all in the service districts to attend.
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