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Budget Committee Meeting Minutes – February 9, 2024 (Unapproved)

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The Chair Commissioner Erin Curry noted that the prayer and pledge had already been offered since this was the second meeting on the same day.  She then asked for a motion on the minutes of 12 January 2024, and that motion, to approve, was made by Commissioner Gayle Jones, seconded by Commissioner Evan Baddour, and was approved unanimously.


A handout on the Budget Calendar was provided with the Chair noting that the timing in the previous budget cycle, e.g. for non-profits, and separating the Fire and Rescue from the non-profits, had worked well.  The Chair asked for any public comments and there being none, a motion to approve from Commissioner Matthew Hopkins, seconded by Commissioner Terry Jones, was made, and was approved unanimously.


A handout on the budget amendments was also provided.  The Chair noted her company of employment was involved in one part of the budget amendments, e.g. traffic signals.  She requested that portion be voted on separately since she would abstain on that particular amendment portion.  The amendments covered two county budget line items, County General Fund 101 and County General Fund 171.  Line Item (LI) 101 amendment was generally for clean-up movement within a particular category, e.g., EMA, Ambulance Service, Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff – THSO Grant, Jail, Health Department, Election Commission – Carryover Grant, and Animal Shelter.  For the Ambulance, the patient charges refunds were provided back by state.  For the Sheriff’s Department the patrol car cost came in higher and that was pulled from medical insurance available due to less users in the family range.  A couple of the amendments had already been approved and were carried over into the current year from previous year.  A motion by Commissioner Terry Jones, seconded by Commissioner Matthew Hopkins, to approve the amendments except for the Traffic Control amendment was made and was approved unanimously.  A motion to approve the Traffic Amendment was made by Commissioner Terry Jones, seconded by Commissioner Matthew Hopkins.  A role call vote was taken with 6 in favor and 1 abstain (Commissioner Erin Curry).


Old Business – The Financial Management (FM) Director Beth Moore-Sumners introduced Mr. Ashley McAnulty, of Stephens Inc, a company which specializes in investment banking, capital management, and public finance and equity.  Mr. McAnulty discussed his extensive expertise – 25 Years and associated with Stephens, Inc established in 1933.  He provided a handout and noted that this handout addressed information common among Tennessee for bonds.  The FM said that no decision would be required, that the information provided is for information only.  Mr. McAnulty said the handout defined his company’s role in a judiciary advisor manner, and that there were no 3rd party conflicts.  He noted his company is familiar with the state process, and can aid in the rating process to get the best bond rate possible.  He mentioned a 10-year fixed rate of 2.7%, which he declared a “really good rate”.  Commissioner Matthew Hopkins asked if there would be a penalty for early payoff, and Mr. McNaulty said you would not be able to do that without incurring a higher interest rate (possible 2.9%).  The FM Director noted loans are higher, but fees are less.  Here you would pay less and fees are more.  Mr. McNaulty also said since being subject to competitive bidding you would not need state approval.  He did mention a needed agreement with the school who will service the debt.  A motion by Commissioner Judy Pruett, seconded by Commissioner Evan Baddour, was made to approve the Resolution handout.  The Resolution authorizing the issuance of not to exceed $8,700K  for obligation of school bonds .   The motion was approved unanimously.  A question by Commissioner Terry Jones and later Commissioner Evan Baddour on additional clarification was made, about the timing so that the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) contractor could have funds in place and locked in by 1 February, and was answered by the CE that the 1 Feb deadline was met.


PES Chief Executive Officer Scott Newton gave an update on the American Recue Plan (ARP) Act federal fiber broadband expansion grant with a comment about Giles County’s commitment of up to $500K from Giles County.  He provided a presentation showing maps of where the expansion is currently in place and will be turned on Monday for the 87 miles (of 494) ramping up over a period of three weeks.  Phase 2 he said is not far behind and Phase 3 will be by end of March.  He broke the customers into several categories:  2873 customers in grant lines; 1160 with 1K ft of grant customers; and total customers of 7472 but all do not want this particular service.  He said the cost will be $62.50 for 300 meg speed.  Some discussion followed about the original PES grant request and subsequently the actual amount approved, and with other Giles County proponents also requesting ARP funding. Several of the Commissioners noted that the “up to $500K commitment” was predicated on receiving the total, first request.  With that request being reduced, considerable discussion on how the county commitment should be reduced as well took place, several commissioners expressed a desire to reduce the commitment to $335K.   The county’s FM noted that the $500K has not been reserved previously and that another “bill” is also not expended.  After a motion was made to pay PES $335K failed 4-3 with Commissioners Gayle Jones, Matthew Hopkins, and Erin Curry voting yes.  Another motion by Commissioner Evan Baddour, seconded by Judy Pruett, to approve a commitment to spend up to $500K and leave in capital improvements, so as not to lock in just yet the actual amount, was made and passed 4-3 with Commissioners David Adams, Terry Jones, Matthew Hopkins voting no.


Old Business – Commissioner Joyce Woodard on referring back to the budget calendar noted that the annual Commissioner conference is in conflict with the 21-23 May date.  The Chair said that CTAS had been contacted yet still continues to schedule the conflicting dates.


Commissioner Matthew Hopkins moved for Adjournment and with Commissioner David Adams providing the second, the meeting was adjourned unanimously.


ATTENDEES:  Members of the Committee – Chairman Commissioner Erin Curry, other Commissioners Gayle Jones, Judy Pruett, Terry Jones, David Adams, Matthew Hopkins, Evan Baddour   Other Commissioners attending:  Joyce Woodard, Rose Brown, Shelly Goolsby, Joseph Sutton, Matt Rubelsky, Annelle Guthrie, James Lathrop, David Wamble, Tim Risner, Tracy Wilburn, Brad Butler, Roger Reedy, Caleb Savage  Others:  County Executive Graham Stowe, Financial Management Director Beth Moore-Sumners, Shana Woodard, CEO PES Scott Newton, Ashley McAnulty of Stephens, Inc.