County Mayor’s Notes – December 19th, 2022

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Cumberland County Commission Meeting
The December 2022 meeting of the Cumberland County Commission was held tonight with all Commissioners in attendance except Deborah Holbrook.

Under new business, the Assessor of Property and the Trustee have made changes to their personnel policies.  The County Attorney has signed off on the updates and the policies will be placed in the minutes of the meeting.

The Cumberland County Clerk’s Office will be discontinuing the current personnel policies in use and will be adopting the Cumberland County Personnel Policy/Employee Handbook.  Elected officials that choose to have their departments follow these county policies (my office and departments, the Sheriff’s Department, Road Department, Register of Deeds, and now the County Clerk’s Office) have the maximum number of resources and protection for both employees and the county.  This change will become effective January 1, 2023.

I want to thank County Clerk Jule Bryson for looking over these policies and moving his department to the county general policies.  It certainly can make the job of the county attorney and HR Director much easier with fewer sets of policies to deal with as more elected officials adopt the county wide policies.

I also informed the County Commissioners that for the second year in a row, Cumberland County received a clean audit with no findings.  This is a testament to the way that our Finance Department works diligently with the other departments to ensure we are following all of the rules and laws involved with the financials of county government.  Congratulations to Nathan and his staff and all involved.  Well done.

Resolutions
The following resolutions were considered by the Cumberland County Commission.  The sponsor of the resolution is in parenthesis.

RESOLUTION 12-2022-1 – TO ACCEPT OFFER(S) TO PURCHASE DELINQUENT TAX PROPERTY OWNED BY CUMBERLAND COUNTY (HOLBROOK) The following delinquent tax properties were approved unanimously for purchase and will now go back on the tax rolls.

RESOLUTION 12-2022-2 – TO APPOINT MEMBERS TO THE CUMBERLAND PLATEAU WATER AUTHORITY (FOSTER).  I submitted four names for the Cumberland Plateau Water Authority (CPWA) board at the December meeting.  It has taken a bit of time as I have thought long and hard about these appointments.  I considered members of the County Commission for the CPWA Board, I even considered myself as this is a board that I’d like to be on, but in the end, I think it is best that the board members be from the general public.  I don’t want to give the impression that this is a county government board, as it isn’t.  It is an independent board that should be about the business of discussing water needs and growth in our community.  I submitted Greg Hanson (four-year term), Thom Hassler (three-year term), Missy Sliger (two-year term), and Sean Stephens (one-year term).  After initial appointments expire, each term will be for four years. 

The appointments were approved in a 14-0-3 vote with Commissioners Isham, Seiber, and Lowe abstaining.  I have mentioned before that 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.  With this step, we are finally to the point where the various utilities can begin a dialog about if and how they want to work together.  It has taken a lot just to get this far and I’m thankful for all that have helped!

The following routine budget amendments were approved for various county departments by the Commission in a 15-0-2 vote with Commissioners Cooper and Maxwell abstaining as they work for the BOE:

  • RESOLUTION 12-2022-3 – CENTRAL CAFETERIA FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, SCHOOL NUTRITION $11,122.36 (SEIBER)
  • RESOLUTION 12-2022-4 – CENTRAL CAFETERIA FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, SCHOOL NUTRITION $5,950.00 (MAXWELL)
  • RESOLUTION 12-2022-5 – CENTRAL CAFETERIA FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT, SCHOOL NUTRITION $84,500.00 (SEIBER)
  • RESOLUTION 12-2022-6 – GENERAL PURPOSE SCHOOL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT $57,640.00 (STONE)
  • RESOLUTION 12-2022-7 – GENERAL PURPOSE SCHOOL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT $199,605.46 (PATTERSON)
  • RESOLUTION 12-2022-8 – GENERAL PURPOSE SCHOOL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT $8,993.68 (STONE)
  • RESOLUTION 12-2022-9 – GENERAL PURPOSE SCHOOL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT $34,169.40 (STONE)
  • RESOLUTION 12-2022-10 – FEDERAL PROGRAMS SCHOOL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT $71,250.00 (STONE)
  • RESOLUTION 12-2022-11 – FEDERAL PROGRAMS SCHOOL FUND, BUDGET AMENDMENT $68,106.00 (STONE)

RESOLUTION 12-2022-12 – TO APPROVE A CONTRACT FOR ENGINEERING SERVICE (WILSON).  This resolution authorized a detailed building envelope and roof framing condition assessment of the historic Cumberland County Courthouse at 2 North Main Street, the old courthouse.  Shoring work is set to be completed soon and will ensure the original part of the building is stable and safe.  This inspection will let us know what needs to be done to permanently fix all the issues.  The resolution was approved unanimously.

Financial Update
Sales tax collections came in at $1,299,471 against a budgeted number of $1,259,902 for a positive variance of $39,569 for the month.  The year-to-date we are $196,817 above budget.  Newer numbers will not be available for a few days.

EMS collections for the month were $328,854 with year-to-date collections of $1,572,173 which is $261,162 below budget.

Property tax collections are at 24.49% of budget compared to 26.7% last year. 

Hotel/Motel Tax collections are at $550,753 compared to $491,697 at the same point last year.  The annual budgeted amount is $1,163,326 which was the actual amount collected last year.  That means we are at 47.34% of budget this year compared to 60.8% last year (compared to a lower budgeted number).

Prisoner Boarding collections are at $113,980 against a reduced budget of $423,925 which is 26.9% of the annual budget.

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