County Mayor’s Notes – October 15th, 2018
First, I want to express my sympathy and condolences to the family of Terry Blaylock who recently passed away. He is the brother of Road Superintendent Scott Blaylock.
Working together. That is how we can move forward in Cumberland County. Towards that effort, City Mayor James Mayberry and I restarted weekly meetings at the Chamber of Commerce to discuss the issues vital to Cumberland County. We just had an announcement from Stonepeak Ceramics concerning 160 new jobs, and retail developments are a real possibility over the next few months. Retail and industrial development are key to good growth and jobs here in Cumberland County, but so is tourism. Last week, we had an announcement that GrinderHouse Coffee, The Palace Theatre, and the Cumberland County Playhouse were designated as a part of the Tennessee Music Pathways (https://www.tnvacation.com/tennessee-music-pathways). This is a great addition to the activities we have available here in Cumberland County.
Reliable internet access is a problem in certain parts of Cumberland County. I have started the process of reaching out to our providers and potential providers. I want to find out what plans they have for upgrading the services they offer and what the county can do to make it happen faster. I also want to know what barriers they have that prevent offering better service. I am meeting with the State of Tennessee to discuss the situation in our area as well. This is a subject that I will be steadily working on as large parts of Cumberland County are greatly underserved. I believe we can do better.
Middle Tennessee Natural Gas (MTNG) gave an update to me and Crossville Mayor James Mayberry at the Chamber of Commerce recently. MTNG has invested over $11 million to provide better service to Cumberland County since 2004. They have plans that will essentially double capacity over the next 8-10 years at a cost of over $21 million. These investments are important so MTNG can keep providing residential and industrial customers the service needed for growth.
The Joint Economic and Community Development Board (JECDB) met on September 25th to discuss various issues important to the growth of Cumberland County. One of the major topics of discussion was the 215,000 square foot pad currently being constructed at the Interchange Business Park on Highway 127N by I-40. This pad is a $1 million joint venture with the State of Tennessee providing a grant for $500,000, and the City of Crossville and Cumberland County each providing $250,000 to match. The question now concerns the type of business we would like to sell the property to. A motion was passed recommending the site be offered for $2 million ($100,000 per acre) with a minimum of 100 jobs to be created and a wage rate at least ten percent higher than the current local average. State and local incentives are also available. Crossville Mayor Mayberry presented these terms to the City Council and they were approved.
TNAchieves, the partnering organization to Governor Haslam’s TN Promise in Cumberland County, is seeking volunteers to serve as mentors for the Class of 2019. TN Promise affords every high school senior in the state the opportunity to attend a local community or technical college tuition free with mentor support. Almost 63,000 students applied for the program from the Class of 2018 and the program is expecting even more this year! Most of the applicants come from low income households and will be the first person in their family to attend college. Many of these students require additional, non-financial support to ensure their success. TNAchieves provides that support by pairing each scholarship applicant with a volunteer mentor.
Mentors spend about one hour per month reminding students of important deadlines, serving as a trusted college resource, and, most importantly, encouraging students to reach their full potential. It is a very small time commitment but the impact can be life changing for a first generation college student. More than 9,000 mentors are needed across the state to meet student demand. Cumberland County needs 61 mentors, and currently, 48 have applied. If you are interested you can apply at https://tnachieves.org/mentors/apply/new-mentor-application/ or contact TNAchieves deputy director, Graham Thomas, at (615) 604-1306 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The October 15th meeting of the full County Commission was held with all in attendance except Sue York. She called to let me know that she is recovering from a medical procedure and was unable to attend.
The following resolutions were approved (resolution sponsor in parenthesis):
RESOLUTION 10-2018-1-To appoint Philip Burnett to the position of County Attorney for a two (2) year term to expire October 31, 2020 (Foster)
The resolution to elect Mr. Burnett passed unanimously.
RESOLUTION 10-2018-2-To appoint Terry Lowe to the Cumberland County Regional Planning Commission to fill the unexpired term of Randal R. Boston through August 31, 2020 (Foster)
The resolution passed unanimously with Commissioner Lowe abstaining.
RESOLUTION 10-2018-3-Budget Amendment, General Purpose School Fund, Memorial Donations, $995.00 (York)
This resolution was needed as various citizen and groups have donated to the “Shoe Fund” of the Board of Education (BOE) in memory of Mr. Burrell Harris. The motion to approved passed with no dissenting votes.
RESOLUTION 10-2018-4-Budget Amendment, General Purpose School Fund, Community Donations, $2,250.00 (Hyder)
This resolution was needed accept a donation from the Fairfield Glade Ladies Club to the “Shoe Fund”. The motion to approve passed 17-0.
RESOLUTION 10-2018-5-Budget Amendment, General Purpose School Fund, Director of Schools Contracted Raise, $2,100.00 (Patterson)
This resolution transferred funds for the contracted two percent pay raise for the Director of Schools. The motion passed unanimously.
RESOLUTION 10-2018-6-Budget Amendment, General Purpose School Fund, Lincoln Financial Retiree Surrender, $21,352.95 (Cooper)
This resolution was needed because a retiree asked Lincoln Financial to fully surrender her account balance. Lincoln Financial transferred the funds via the Board of Education, necessitating this resolution. The resolution was approved 17-0.
RESOLUTION 10-2018-7-Budget Amendment, General Purpose School Fund, Non-Recurring School Safety Grant, $169,730.00 (Patterson)
The Board of Education was awarded funds from the Safe Schools Grant from the State of Tennessee. The motion to accept these funds passed unanimously.
RESOLUTION 10-2018-8-Budget Amendment, General Purpose School Fund, Cancel Movement of Federal Revenues, $200,000.00 (Wilson)
This was a technical resolution required to meet audit recommendations some time back. The General Purpose School Fund met the required fund balance test for the 2018-2019 budget without needing this transfer so it was canceled. The vote was 17-0 in favor.
RESOLUTION 10-2018-9-Budget Amendment, General Purpose School Fund, Addition Allocations for Crab Orchard Septic System, $200,000.00 (Wilson)
These funds are being transferred to the Capital Outlay – Building Construction from the General Purpose School Fund to fix the septic system once and for all. The motion was approved unanimously.
RESOLUTION 10-2018-10-Budget Amendment, General Purpose School Fund, Contribution to Capital Projects Overages, $750,000.00 (Hyder)
You may recall that, due to excess excavating and other issues, the Crab Orchard and CCHS project came in over estimates. By prior agreement with the County Commission, the BOE agreed to pay a large portion of these overages. The resolution was passed 17-0.
RESOLUTION 10-2018-11-Budget Amendment, General Fund, Trustee’s Office, $1,732.00 (Wilson)
The Trustee’s surety bond increased by $1,032 over the prior fiscal year. The Trustee also requested an additional $700 to add a night drop receptacle in front of the office. This was inadvertently omitted from the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 budget. The resolution was approved unanimously.
RESOLUTION 10-2018-12-Budget Amendment, General Fund, Library, $3,389.00 (Hyder)
The Art Circle Public Library (ACPL) has received a grant from the State of Tennessee, Department of Library and Archives for computer technology. The ACPL has the matching funds available an appropriated. The motion to approve was 17-0.
RESOLUTION 10-2018-13-Budget Amendment, Drug Control Fund, Sheriff’s Department, Drug Enforcement, $10,000.00 (Blalock)
The Sheriff requested a budget amendment to purchase a drug detection dog for use in drug control and eradication. The motion to approve the amendment and add the funds for purchase was approved unanimously.
Sales tax collections through September are at approximately $1.7 million, which is $40,000 above budgeted projections. Property tax collections for the BOE is at 3 percent. Ambulance collections continue to be a concern as we are down approximately $400,000 through the first three months of the fiscal year. I have scheduled a meeting with an owner of our third party billing company to find out the reasons for the delay. Our EMS staff is getting the billing completed from our side in a timely manner, but the billing company is having problems. Finally, the Archive Fee for Storage and Maintenance that was discussed in the August meeting is beginning to be collected. In September, the preliminary number was $6,239 collected.
It is an honor for me to walk in to the Courthouse each day knowing you have trusted me to conduct the business of Cumberland County. Thank you for allowing me the honor of serving as your County Mayor. It is a privilege.
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Cumberland County Mayor