CC Notes – November 16th 2015
All members were present for the November regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Cumberland County Commission. The meeting began with the appointment of a new Board of Education member for the Ninth District seat which was vacated by Dan Schlafer when he accepted a position in the Central Office. Six candidates submitted their credentials by the noon deadline on November 6, 2015, including Viva J. Bosland, Sharon Ellison, Sarah Hazelton, Frances L. Kinnunen, Debra J. Markham, and Aretie Gallins Patterson. Each took their turn to speak to the Commission, and to detail the reasons they felt they should be appointed. In looking over the resumes from the candidates and hearing them speak to the Commission, all seemed qualified for the position. In order to make my decision, and since all of the candidates seemed more than capable of doing the job, I used the number of contacts made on behalf of a candidate in casting my vote. More people from the community contacted me on behalf of Aretie Patterson than anyone else, and she received my vote. The final vote had Aretie Patterson receiving ten votes, and Debra Markham receiving seven. Aretie Patterson was sworn in to office immediately following the vote.
The first resolution was one in protest of the privatization of any department of the Cumberland Mountain State Park. It was submitted by Commissioner Nancy Hyder. The resolution did not take the normal route to a committee of the Commission for study, instead being brought to the full Commission for a vote. Commissioner Hyder asked to postpone voting on the item until the Joint Economic Community Development Board could discuss the situation with public input. The meeting will be held November 30, 2015, at 4:00 PM in the meeting room on the fourth floor of City Hall.
The BOE received additional USDA funds via the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in the amount of $5,400. The budget was adjusted to accept the funds and to allow for expenditures for the support, promotion and execution of healthy meals, menu publication, training, marketing, and promotional events and materials. In another resolution, Crab Orchard Elementary was awarded $12,000 by the USDA to assist in purchasing a Double Stack Combi Oven. The resolutions were approved 18-0.
Cumberland Fellowship Baptist Church donated $500 to fund part of the cost associated with the operation of the Cumberland County Fire Department. A resolution was passed accepting these funds in a 17-0 vote, with Commissioner Claflin passing.
During the last budget process, the Sheriff’s Department had requested additional funding for drug control and eradication, which was approved but didn’t make it into the final budget document. To fix the issue, $3,000 was moved from unassigned fund balance to the Sheriff’s Department. The motion passed 17-0 with Commissioner Claflin passing.
Sheriff Casey Cox presented the Commission with a contract between TDOT and Cumberland County for review. Under terms of the contract, the Sheriff’s Department would be paid $100 per mile for having prisoners from the jail pick up trash on I-40 in Cumberland County, including both sides of the road as well as the median. I like the idea of having county inmates out on work details such as this, and it is something Sheriff Cox promised the public when he ran for office. After several questions asked to determine the financials and legal issues, the motion passed unanimously.
Property tax collections year to date are at 16.5% of budget. That is up from the 15.5% collected at this point last year. The Hotel/Motel tax is still strong with $265,843 collected compared to $226,906 at this point last year. That is 34.5% of the $770,000 budgeted. Ambulance collections are down three months into the budget at $625,785 compared to $795,535 last year. The annual budgeted income is $3,200,000, which means we need to collect approximately $267,000 per month. Prisoner boarding is at 25% of the $500,000 budget with a two month total of $125,060. Local Option Sales Tax collections for the BOE continue to be strong with $726,134 collected last month against a budget of $699,110. For the year, collections are $99,522 above projections at $2,253,531. Projections for this month look very strong as well.
Also of note, 1st District Commissioner Jeff Dyer submitted his resignation effective December 31, 2015. His decision is based on the fact that he will be permanently moving outside the 1st District. His seat will be filled in the January Commission meeting in the same way the Board of Education seat was filled tonight.
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