Budget Committee and County Commission Prepare for Full Body Voting Meeting

Jefferson County Budget Committee met Tuesday night for their regular voting meeting, and the Jefferson County Commission had a work session as well.

The Budget Committee Meeting, presided by Budget Chair Scarlett, had mostly the nature of general housekeeping,  in the form of amendments to already approved budgets, but there were some significant points of interest.  For the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Jeff Coffee and County Finance Director Langdon Potts worked on moving some positions around to allow for more detectives for the department.  The movement will allow for fewer deputies in the department, but will  keep personnel and dollar amounts the same for this years’ budget.  Also on the amendment Circuit Court Clerk Kevin Poe requested movement from reserves to update website and equipment to accept web-based payments.  The amendment that contained these items was unanimously passed to move on to the County Commission to be voted on.  Another amendment that was brought up by the Highway Department asked for funding to be moved out of reserve.  The money from the reserve, at around $27,000, will be combined with $120,000 that was already designated in the budget to purchase a new dumptruck with salt spreadder for the Highway Department.  That amendment was also passed unanimously to move on to Commission to be voted on in next weeks’ meeting.

In new business for the Budget Committee, the resolution number 2018-51 which is a resolution to waive the County Motor Vehicle Tax for vehicles receiving exemption under Chapter 923 of the Public Acts of 2018 for volunteer firefighters and rescue squad personnel.  The resolution was passed to move on the the County Commission to be voted on.

The Jefferson County Commission also met Tuesday night for a work session that was presided over by Commission Chair Jefferson County Mayor Mark Potts.  As they went over the agenda for next weeks regular voting meeting, former County Commissioner David Seal addressed the Commission during the appointed time for citizens.  During his time behind the podium, Seal discussed some of the issues that the Transportation Department were facing.  The main issue that he addressed was the fact that the county is missing out on money that they could be receiving because of an old law on the books stating that students that live within a mile and a half of their school was responsible for their own transportation.  He stated that those laws were written at a time that students were walking to school.  “Realistically there are not many students walking to school these days”.   According to his numbers, the county is missing out on BEP funding of around 671 students.

Also, a group of students from Jefferson County High School’s Service Learning Class came before the Animal Control Board to propose a tether ordinance.  For the work session, student Mark Kindred spoke before the Commission to present the proposal.  In the ordinance proposal, it was the students’ suggestion that Jefferson County follow suit with surrounding areas, requiring outdoor tethered pets to have at least a 15 foot lead that was unobstructed.  The Commission suggested that the students bring the proposal to the safety board.

Finally, the Industrial Development Board represented by Mike Dockery brought to the commission a resolution to approve the policies and procedures relating to the implementation of tax increment incentive transactions that may be undertaken by the IDB.  The hope of the IDB is to allow the Jefferson County Commission to pave the way for a Tax Increment Finance, or a TIF, which requires the approval of the county commission to proceed.  A TIF is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement projects in many countries, including the United States use.

The Jefferson County Commission will meet Monday, October 15, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. in the main courtroom at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse.

Source: Angie Stanley, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer