Budget Committee Considers Stips On Hospital Reserve Fund Use

The Jefferson County Budget Committee gave the nod to a satellite office for the County Clerk to allow easier access for those living in the Jefferson City area. According to Jefferson County Mayor Potts, the satellite office will be located inside the Jefferson City Walmart. County Clerk Herndon said that he expects to be able to run the office with a couple of new employees and to, largely, offer the same services as the main office in downtown Dandridge. He did note that the exception would be driver licenses, at least at the onset of the new office. Should the state offer the equipment to facilitate driver license renewal at the new location, Herndon stated that he would certainly take them up on their offer.

The final decision will rest with the full County Commission at their voting meeting next week.

Budget Committee Members are considering putting stipulations on the usage of money collected in the Hospital Reserve Fund which comes from lease payments from Jefferson Memorial Hospital in the amount of $750,000 annually. Currently, according to Jefferson County Finance Director Potts, the fund sits at $7.4 million dollars. The Finance Director stated that he would like to see the fund grow to 10% of the annual county budget before any excess growth is used. Potts said that 10% would allow the county to operate for around five weeks should a disaster occur. As a part of the discussion, Budget Chair Scarlett brought the idea of attaching a 2/3 full County Commission support before being able to tap into any of the Hospital Reserve Fund. Budget Committee Member Kesterson noted that the fund is often used for short term balancing of the budget until funds are available and questioned if there was a way to continue that practice, if needed, outside a 2/3 majority vote. The committee is looking into ways to structure a resolution that could accommodate both the 2/3 vote and the ability to temporarily tap those funds to balance the budget without a 2/3 vote.

The Budget Committee jumps off its budget season on March 23, 2020 when they will take a first look at non profit funding.