CC Notes – October 16th 2017
The October meeting of the Cumberland County Commission was called to order by Reserve Deputy Tyler Yoder. All Commissioners were in attendance except Roy Stone. The resolutions for the evening began with an issue first addressed in September.
Last month we discussed how the Homestead Convenience Center land located on Highway 127 South is leased for $5,800 per year. The county has leased this 1.6 acre property for around three decades and has made many improvements to the area including recent paving. The owner recently agreed to sell the property for $39,500. A resolution was presented to purchase this property, but it was tabled to allow more time for surveys and other documentation. The testing on the property is complete and were satisfactory. The resolution was approved unanimously.
After approval by the Cumberland County Regional Planning Commission as well as the Environmental Committee, Hickory Gap Lane and Hickory View Lane were added to the official Cumberland County Road list. Hickory Gap Lane connects to Sparta Highway, and Hickory View Lane connects to Hickory Gap Lane. John Taylor Road was removed from the list at the request of the residents of the area and with the approval of the Cumberland County Regional Planning Commission and the Environmental Committee. Both resolutions were approved by the full Commission 17 – 0.
An offer was accepted from Tyler D. Brown and Ernest Gordon Kerley, III to purchase property from Cumberland County off of the delinquent tax rolls. The purchase was for $100 for a parcel at 366 Bainbridge Road. This property has been off the tax rolls since 2004. At the recommendation of the Delinquent Tax Committee, the purchase was approved unanimously.
The Cumberland Good Samaritans, Cumberland Community Band, and other private citizens have donated money to the Board of Education totaling $811. This money will be used to assist with school supplies, the Shoe Fund, and the visual arts programs in the school system. The funds were accepted and allocated unanimously.
Personnel changes by the Board of Education required $84,484 to be shifted to various lines in the Special Education program. A new SPED teaching position couldn’t be filled, so two teaching assistants were hired. A psychologist was replaced with a diagnostician as well. Approval was granted to move the funds in a 17 – 0 vote.
Approximately a month ago, the Commission found out that the County has been contesting the assessment of a $500 fee by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) for a dam inspection in Breckenridge. Residents of Breckenridge had been paying the fee but are no longer doing so. When that happened, TDEC decided that the county must pay. To most, this “dam” appears to be a culvert, but TDEC has decided it is a dam and must be inspected. Advice on the matter from the County Technical Advisory Service (CTAS), and the County Attorney, has varied. The county tried to contest the fee assessment and our responsibility to pay, but lost the appeal (one in which we were not invited to attend) and have therefore been assessed the fee, penalties, and interest in the amount of $3,536.29. After much discussion, the Commission voted to table the payment authorization until the Environmental Committee can hold a meeting to discuss the situation. There is a chance the penalties and interest could increase, but at this point, with the way TDEC has handled the issue, we voted to take that chance in order to get more information. The vote to table passed 16 – 1 with Commissioner David Gibson voting against.
The Homesteads Tower restrooms are not functioning and have had to be closed. The tower is owned by Cumberland County. Attempts to locate and repair or replace the septic system have been unsuccessful. The City of Crossville has agreed to allow the structure to be connected to their sewer, and will donate a portion of the cost of materials and labor to do so. The Homesteads Tower Association has requested the County contribute the balance of the materials and labor, not to exceed $7,500. The tower is an important part of Cumberland County history. According to information provided by Charles Tollett and Levonn Hubbard, it was constructed by Homesteaders, CCC, and WAP workers in 1938-1939. In the last year of complete visitor records, the tower had more than 10,000 visitors from all 50 states and from 10 countries. The resolution was approved unanimously.
In the final resolution of the evening, Kathy Ivey was unanimously appointed to the Cumberland County Library Board to fill the remainder of the term of Martha McKnight after her resignation. The term expires June 30, 2019.
Local option sales tax collections for the BOE were $780,570 which is $8,166 above projections for the month. Collections year to date are still below budget by $48,469. Estimated property tax collections are 5.4 percent compared to zero at this time last year.
Hotel/Motel tax collections year to date are $196,057, or 24.2 percent of budget which is slightly ahead of last year. Last year the county collected $88,414 in August. This year, $88,240 was collected. This is concerning because of the tourists we saw during the eclipse this August. It seems odd that less Hotel/Motel tax would be collected when reports around the county indicated most business were at capacity during the eclipse. The Budget Committee has invited County Trustee Kim Wyatt to the next meeting to discuss the process of Hotel/Motel tax collections and audits.
Total EMS collections are at $596,166, which is behind budget year to date. EMS Director Chris Miller still believes the budget will be met. Prisoner Boarding from the State stands at $111,540 against a budget of $525,000, or 21.1 percent of budget. Fuel costs seem to be coming back down and usage is tracking well. Currently, the average cost paid for diesel for the year has been $1.827 per gallon, and gas has been $1.697 per gallon. Both figures are below the $2 per gallon budgeted.
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