Citizen Input? What A Concept!

Jefferson County will soon have an Audit Committee that will be taking a look at one particular reoccurring audit finding. When Jefferson County decided to open the current landfill,  the State of Tennessee required financial assurances that it would have the funds to properly close it, should or when the need arises. The greater the portion of the landfill that is used, the larger the amount of funding that will be require for closure and monitoring. Every year, the amount that the County is obligated to have available for closure increases. This year, the deficit that we are carrying is close to $5 million dollars and that number is expected to increase, according to the State of Tennessee, to a whopping $9 million plus dollars by the time of closure. Unfortunately, we are not accommodating for that need in our budget and we haven’t been for a very long time. The State is requiring the County to set up this Audit Committee to address the issue and I think that it is about time that we take a look at what our obligations are going to be in regard to the landfill. When fund balances are discussed, no one is taking this huge expense into account. Last Monday, the County Commission voted on a Resolution that would dictate who sits on the Audit Committee. Originally, the Resolution called for only three County Commissioners – the Chairman of the Commission, the Chairman of the Finance Committee and the Chairman of the Budget Committee – to sit on the Committee. Some Commissioners were uncomfortable that no citizens were on the Committee and made the attempt to include citizens as well as Commissioners. Amendment after amendment failed. 4 citizens + 1 Commissioner = Failed, 3 Citizens + 2 Commissioner = Failed, the Original Motion of 3 Commissioner = Failed.  Time ticked slowly by as the Commission struggled to agree on who would sit on this Committee. Finally, and only because they were informed that the deadline for the State would not allow leaving the issue until the next meeting and that the State would not look favorably on ignoring their dictate to form an Audit Committee, they agreed on 3 Commissioners + 2 citizens to form the Committee. Now comes the hard part… they must agree on the citizens. One Commissioner already made the statement that the Commission had final say over the Nomination Committee. Ahhh… I see another fight and endless debate in the future. And in the meantime, every time we throw another piece of trash on the pile, we rack up a bill that we are not prepared to pay. Ca Ching.

Source: K. Depew, News Director