County Mayor’s Notes – March 21st, 2022

Cumberland County Commission Meeting
The March 2022 meeting of the Cumberland County Commission was held tonight with all Commissioners in attendance.  The first item on the agenda under New Business was the General Sessions Judge vacancy after Judge Warner’s passing.  All interested and qualified attorneys, licensed to practice law in the State of Tennessee and residing in Cumberland County, are eligible to apply.

A motion was made that the County fill the vacancy of General Sessions Judge at the special called meeting on April 1, 2022, at 3:00 PM, in accordance with County Commission rules. 

Anyone interested in filling the vacant seat should notify the County Mayor’s Office in writing by March 30, 2022, at noon.  A cover letter is suggested, but not required to be submitted at that time.  Those unable to notify the County Mayor’s Office may also be considered at the April 1, 2022, meeting of the full County Commission.  Verification of residency is required.

The motion passed 17-1 with Commissioner Holbrook voting against as she is unable to attend.

The following resolutions were considered, with the sponsor being in parenthesis.

RESOLUTION 03-2022-1 – TO REAPPOINT MEMBERS TO THE CUMBERLAND COUNTY SOLID WASTE REGIONAL PLANNING BOARD (FOSTER)
Conrad Welch, Beth Sherrill, and David Hassler were reappointed to the board with terms to expire March of 2028.  The vote was 18-0 to approve the nominations.

RESOLUTION 03-2022-2 – TO APPOINT FOUR (4) JUDICIAL COMMISSIONERS FOR CUMBERLAND COUNTY, TENNESSEE (GIBSON)
The following were appointed in a unanimous vote to serve as Judicial Commissioners:

  • Jennifer Philips-Cross – Two year term
  • Greg Watson – One year term
  • John Kirby – One year term
  • Patricia Barnes – One year term

RESOLUTION 03-2022-3 – GENERAL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, OTHER PUBLIC HEALTH & WELFARE – ANIMAL SHELTER $10,471.00 (GIBSON)
This resolution, approved 18-0, accepted donated funds for the animal shelter and will be used for supplies in the facility.

RESOLUTION 03-2022-4 – SOLID WASTE FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT $65,916.00 (SHERRILL)
Maintenance and repair costs have gone up significantly due to old equipment, and the bid for a new roll-off truck was almost $27,000 over estimates.  This resolution, approved 18-0, moved funds from the Solid Waste fund balance to cover these costs.

The following resolutions were approved 17-0-1 (Cooper abstained) for the Board of Education:

  • RESOLUTION 03-2022-5 – GENERAL PURPOSE SCHOOL FUND, BUS ATTENDANT BUDGET AMENDMENT $35,000.00 (KYLE DAVIS)
  • RESOLUTION 03-2022-6 – GENERAL PURPOSE SCHOOL FUND, BUS BUDGET AMENDMENT, $42,100.00 (KYLE DAVIS)
  • RESOLUTION 03-2022 – 7 – CENTRAL CAFETERIA FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT $10,389.40 (KYLE DAVIS)
  • RESOLUTION 03-2022-8 – CENTRAL CAFETERIA FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT $14,810.27 (KYLE DAVIS)
  • RESOLUTION 03-2022-9 – CENTRAL CAFETERIA FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT $170,329.95 (KYLE DAVIS)

RESOLUTION 03-2022-10 – TO APPROVE UPDATING THE CURRENT CUMBERLAND COUNTY PERSONNEL POLICY (FOSTER)
Each year in March, updates to the county personnel policy are made.  The changes are usually suggested by our insurance group, or the county attorney, etc. throughout the year and then updated annually.  Changes this year involve the leave policy, drug free workplace policy, EEOC/ADA policy, use of county vehicles and equipment policy (new), and the observed holidays policy (made to align with the State of Tennessee observed holidays).  The recommended updates were approved unanimously.

RESOLUTION 03-2022-11 – AGREEMENT BETWEEN CUMBERLAND COUNTY AND THE CUMBERLAND MOUNTAIN RETREAT PROPERTY OWNER’S ASSOCIATION, INC. CONCERNING DELINQUENT TAX LOTS (FOSTER)
This is the last Property Owners Association (POA) agreement that is needed for the current delinquent property tax sale to move forward.  Clerk & Master, Sue Tollett, has set a date of April 12, 2022, for the next delinquent property tax sale.  Agreements have been made with the Fairfield Glade, Tansi, Breckenridge, Renegade, Lake Park, and Cumberland Mountain POAs.  The agreement was approved 18-0.

For background, some years ago, a court ruled that counties owning delinquent tax lots could owe POA dues under certain circumstances (depending on deeds, etc.).  Since then, Cumberland County has had handshake/verbal agreements with a couple of the POAs so the county could continue to accept lots that didn’t sell during the first stages of the delinquent lot process, and not have to worry about POA assessments.  This was a good, commonsense agreement between the two entities because if the county didn’t accept the lots, they would remain in a state of limbo.  If the county accepts the lots, they can be sold and property taxes as well as POA assessments can be collected from the new owner.  These contracts put the handshake/verbal agreements in writing.  It is one of those win/win situations that we all like to see.  I want to thank the County Commission for passing these agreements unanimously, and I want to thank the POAs for doing the same and working with me on this for the past 3 ½ years.  We are all making a concerted effort to foster a good relationship between the entities.  Thank you.

There are a few other POA/HOAs in the county, but we will negotiate contracts with them as needed for future tax sale.

Financial Update
EMS collections for the month were $281,191 which is $52,142 below the monthly budgeted amount of $333,333.  Year to date we have collected $3,020,976 which is $354,312 above projections.  The decreased collections are due to fewer runs.

Sales tax collections for the General Purpose School Fund came in at $965,550 which is approximately $34,000 above projections.  Year to date we have collected $9,027,365 and are approximately $718,000 above budget.

Property tax collections year to date are approximately 94.94%. Last year we had collected 91.9% of revenue.

Cumulative Hotel/Motel taxes are $723,171 which is 89.4% of the budgeted amount of $808,712.  Last year, with a smaller budgeted amount of $668,166, we had collected $445,714, or 66.71% of budget, at this point.

Cumulative Prisoner Boarding collections are $237,354, or 39.4% of the $602,396 annual budget.  Last year we were at $236,396, or 39.19% of the $602,396 annual budget.  Payments for prisoner boarding are somewhat sporadic from the state.

COVID-19 Update
The state of Tennessee has moved to reporting COVID-19 data on a weekly basis on Wednesday of each week for the previous Sunday through Saturday.  This report includes data for the week ending March 12th.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), in Cumberland County there are 48 active cases of COVID-19.  This number is almost half last week’s total.  There have been 319 cumulative deaths reported as of the date of this newsletter.  Datasets for additional information can be found at https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov/data/downloadable-datasets.html.

Statement from CMC Concerning the COVID-19 Dashboard
With COVID-19 case numbers decreasing in our area, Covenant Health has determined that daily COVID reports from our health system and member hospitals are no longer necessary after March 4, 2022. If case numbers increase in the future, we will relaunch the reports as needed for public information.

We encourage our communities to help continue the downward trend in case numbers by getting the COVID-19 vaccine if you have not already done so, and by observing other safe practices such as, but not limited to, hand washing, social distancing and staying home if you are ill. In addition, we strongly encourage everyone over the age of 6 months to get a flu shot. Thank you for taking these steps to protect your health and the health of others.

State Vaccination Dashboard:
https://data.tn.gov/t/Public/views/TennIISCOVID-19VaccineReporting/SUMMARY?:showAppBanner=false&:display_count=n&:showVizHome=n&:origin=viz_share_link&:toolbar=no&:embed=yes

Cumberland County Schools Update
According to Director of Schools Dr. Ina Maxwell, as of Friday, March 18, there are ZERO students positive for COVID-19 and ZERO staff members.  This it two weeks in a row with no active cases.  This week is Spring Break for the schools so there will be no report.

Cumberland County Health Department Update
The Cumberland County Health Department is currently offering the Pfizer COVID 19 Vaccine and Booster.  Unfortunately, the Moderna Booster is not available at the Cumberland County Health Department at this time.  There are several other local facilities that offer Moderna. A complete list can be found at www.vaccines.gov. If the status changes for the Moderna vaccine and booster, the Health Department will send out an announcement.

COVID-19 Testing Hours Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 11:00 am (MWF are self-testing days)

COVID-19 Vaccine Hours Monday – Friday, 8:00 pm – 4:00 pm

All COVID-19 Vaccines are currently being given inside the Health Department.  No drive-thru option will be offered.

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