County Commission Adopts New Budget, Sets Tax Rate

July 29, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

The county commission adopted the 2014-15 consolidated budget and set the property tax rate during Monday night's meeting at the courthouse. The new budget totals $43,847,750 and the tax rate remains the same for another year at $1.62 per $100 of assessed value.

"This is pretty much the same budget we had last year with very little in the way of changes," said County Mayor Mike Foster during Monday night's meeting.

The largest single project expected to be undertaken this budget year is the development of a solid waste transfer station. The county is currently seeking sealed bids through 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 5th for the furnishing of all labor, material, equipment, and services. The facility will be constructed on property in the Smithville Industrial Park on Highway 70 east behind Tenneco Automotive. The Smithville Industrial Board deeded the land to the City of Smithville, who in turn, deeded it to the county for the transfer station. According to the bid notice, the work under the contract will include the construction of a 5,400 square foot pre-engineered metal building as a solid waste transfer station including a scale house building and office building; construction of an access road with erosion control measures; stripping of 8,900 cubic yard top soil; 7,500 cubic yard site excavation; 6,000 cubic yard borrow material; 6,500 tons of mineral aggregate base stone; and 3,175 tons of hot mix. The bid opening will be Tuesday, August 5 at 10:00 a.m. in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

"This is one of those things (Transfer Station) that we tentatively began planning for ten years ago," said Foster in a recent interview with WJLE. "We started setting aside depreciation and (landfill) post closure money. We put that (money) into a fund because we knew we eventually wanted to get out of the Class 1 landfill business. We started saving for it and we now have that money in the bank," said Foster. The existing Class I landfill, located off Billings Road in the eastern portion of the county, will soon be full. Foster said he is hopeful that the transfer station can be opened by December. "According to the engineering estimates, we probably have nine months left on it (existing landfill). It's probably going to take five months to get the transfer station going. But we'll still put some stuff in there (existing landfill) until we fill it. Then we'll do a Class III/IV cell for construction material," he said.

Full time county general and sheriff's department employees due a pay raise under the existing step wage scales will get them and part time workers can expect at least a quarter per hour increase in pay under the new budget

The budget also includes funds to offer health insurance to full time county general employees under the Affordable Health Care Act. Some part time employees could see their hours adjusted in order to comply with the federal law. "We considered them part time if they worked 35 hours or less. The federal government now considers them part time if they work 30 hours or less so we had to do a little bit of adjusting. They are all actually supposed to work 28 hours anyway but some, through attrition, etc, had shuffled around and were working 33 and 32 hours. By law we have to do this (adjust hours) or pay insurance for these guys," said Foster.

As a result, Foster explained that the hours of operation at some solid waste convenience sites will be changed a bit " We had to do a little bit of adjusting to some of the hours at some of the stations but we have done that to where nobody works more than three days a week. Village Market (Cookeville Highway Convenience Site) is open six days a week. Most of the time it opens at eight o'clock but we have one day where we open at seven o'clock, from seven until five. Four days its open from eight until five. Friday its open from nine until six and Sunday its open from nine until five," said Foster. "Snow Hill is one of our busy sites too. It's basically the same thing. We try to have it open later a day or two during the week and a day or two that's early. Those two sites (Cookeville Highway and Snow Hill) are open seven days a week. Shiney Rock is open six (days a week). Blue Springs is open six (days). Keltonburg is open six (days). Belk is open five (days) and fewer hours because it gets less use than a lot of the others. Midway is open six (days). It has a lot of lake traffic. We open it on Monday from eleven until six. Tuesday eleven to six. Closed on Wednesday. Open Thursday eleven until six. Friday eleven until six. Saturday nine until six and Sunday from nine until six. Alexandria is closed on Thursday. Liberty is closed on Wednesday. At Temperance Hall we open the gates seven days a week. Silver Point is closed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in order to benefit lake traffic on the weekends and late in the afternoons. People can bring garbage to the landfill on Monday from six until five and we have somebody there from two thirty until five. Tuesday its six until two thirty. Wednesday its six until five. Thursday is six until two thirty. Friday is six until two thirty. Saturday is seven until three and closed on Sunday," said Foster.

One cent of the tax rate generates $42,953 in local money with a 7.7% delinquency rate figured into the equation.

The proposed tax rate is broken down as follows:
County General: 82 cents
Highway/Public Works: 3 cents
General Capital Projects: 10 cents
Debt Service: 12 cents
General Purpose Schools: 55 cents.

The solid waste fund, under this budget, will not receive any property tax money but will continue to be supported by revenues derived from payment-in-lieu of taxes, local option sale taxes, hotel-motel tax, bank excise tax and wholesale beer tax, etc.

Capital projects fund expenses for the year total $641,000 including:
*"Motor Vehicles" Ambulance- $120,000
*"Other Equipment" (Heart monitors for ambulance service)-$90,000
*"Motor Vehicles" Patrol Cars-$80,000
*"Motor Vehicles" for litter truck-$8,000
*"Other Equipment"- Fire department Turnout Gear-$23,000
*"Building Construction" Courthouse-$110,000 (new roof and parapet wall)
*"Solid Waste Equipment" Skidsteer/Backhoe-$70,000 (for transfer station)
*"Solid Waste Equipment" Rollback Truck-$131,000 (landfill)
*"Other Construction" for speed bumps and paving- $9,000.

The county commission also adopted a resolution making appropriations of $145,584 to the following non-profit organizations:
Upper Cumberland Development District- $3,411
Tennessee Division of Forestry-$1,500
DeKalb County Rescue Squad- $16,821
Plateau Mental Health-$7,180
Families First-$750
Senior Citizens Program-$26,934
DeKalb Soil Conservation District-$34,062
DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce-$15,000
Imagination Library- $7,200
Genesis House- $1,500
Upper Cumberland Child Advocacy Center- $1,780
DeKalb County Fair- $1,500
WCTE-TV- $5,000
Prospect Incorporated-$12,500
Upper Cumberland Human Resources-$1,200
UCHRA Assessment-Homemaker Aide, etc-$9,245

The new school budget includes funding for a new second grade teacher as well as an English teacher, Chemistry teacher, and a part time English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at DCHS; funds for additional coaching supplements including two DCHS assistant soccer coaches (one for the girls team and one for the boys team) totaling $5,570; two assistant DeKalb Middle School soccer coaches ($2,790), a DeKalb Middle School assistant basketball coach ($1,395), a DeKalb Middle School/West School Cross Country Coach and a DCHS Cross Country coach (2 positions totaling $5,000), an assistant DeKalb West School basketball coach ($1,395), an assistant DeKalb West Baseball coach ($1,395); and an assistant high school football coach ($2,785); a half-time speech pathologist; a new full time Technology position; and a four thousand dollar pay raise for the Transportation Director position.

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