BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
13 JUNE 2022
Chairman Commissioner Erin Curry opened the meeting, and with prayer and pledge provided in previous same day meeting, asked for motion on the 6 May 2022 minutes previously provided. Commissioner Larry Worsham moved for approval, with Commissioner Roger Reedy providing a second. Motion approved.
First Agenda Item Reappraisal. Good news for the county, per Beth Moore-Sumners, Director Financial Management, as the tax rate provided by the state is 1.9863. This is down based on the assessed value of property going up (keeping revenue for the county with only a small increased change of $23,365 for the general fund, $5,642 for the Highway Department and with the school under the Maintenance of Effort no impact.) Given that information, with such a small change, Beth suggested the current proposed 22-23 budget not be changed. A motion by Commissioner David Wamble and seconded by Commissioner Roger Reedy to approve the new tax rate of 1.9863 was approved after the following discussion: Per Tax Assessor Tommy Hyatt this number could change again, probably not finalized until after the State Tax Equalization Board has met, and possibly in February. The State Tax Equalization Board makes a ruling across Tennessee for large stores such as WalMart and HomeDepot. Tommy Hyatt said he has not seen this much change with 2.02 down to 1.9863 in the time he has served as Assessor. However, this period has also seen a significant increase in market value especially for personal property. Per Beth, for budgetary purposes once the tax rate is set, it is set at this time of year. She also commented that publishing the tax rate is not required. A question from Commissioner Mike Cesarini on how Giles’ rate compares to other counties, Beth mentioned some of the complexities such as other counties having a wheel tax, and Commissioner Brad Butler said Giles County is just a little lower than most, showing on a website.
A motion by Commissioner Wamble and seconded by Commissioner Worsham to not change the current proposed 22-23 budget was made and was approved.
Next Agenda Item School 21-22 Budget Line items (BLI) -141 Amendment, 141 Amendment – Truck, 143 Amendment, and 177 Amendment by a motion, made by Commissioner Wamble and seconded by Commissioner Worsham, to combine the four mentioned Amendments as one was made, discussed and approved. After the previously approved motion to combine the four, another motion by Commissioner Wamble and seconded by Commissioner Worsham to approve the now combined amendments was made, and was approved. (The amendment for the 141 Amendment – Truck used existing funds from within the school budget).
Next Agenda Item 21-22 Budget Line Items County 101 & 171 Amendment. Most of the amendments proposed were to address moving of funds within that BLI to reflect a budget that was aligned with actual expenditures. Several of those expenditures reflected fuel increased costs. Those 101 BLIs reflecting those changes are: In Service/Staff Development, Election Commission, Register of Deeds, County Buildings, Accounting & Budgeting, Property Assessor’s Office, County Trustee, County Clerk’s Office, Circuit Court Clerk, General Sessions Court, Chancery Court, Judicial Commissioners, Sheriff’s Department, Jail, Office of Emergency Management, Local Health Center, Rabies & Animal Control, Ambulance Service, Sanitation Management, Sanitation Education, Parks & Fair Boards, Other Social, Cultural & Recreation, Agricultural Extension Service, Soil Conservation, Veterans’ Services, Employee Benefits, and 171 BLI County Capital Projects Fund. Some BLIs however have only one BLI category and thus no other line item from which to transfer funds from and to. For those, the funds show from the Fund Balance. Those 101 BLIs are County Attorney with additional funds required for two on-going trials; Traffic Control for traffic lights; County Coroner/Medical Examiner for additional autopsies; Other Local Welfare Services for pauper burials (unclaimed bodies only); and Airport. One 101 BLI – the Convenience Centers – also required additional funding over the budget total due to increased costs in tipping fees (due to more collections) and in gas cost. A question on total required from fund balance was answered by Beth with $40,210. Commissioner Worsham moved for approval of the BLI 101 & 171 Amendments including the movement from the fund balance of $40,210 and was seconded by Commissioner Reedy. Motion approved.
Chairman Curry then asked County Executive Melissa Greene to discuss the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) funding. The County Executive said she was providing at this time for information only. While there is already an approved resolution addressing these funds, she said that the county may have to do another resolution, based on information from the state. Typically, if those dollars are under $10M and under the category Loss Revenue, you do not have to list specific projects. That may change. Also, there is no follow up on how to get the other ½ of the funding. For the next full county commission meeting, she may have another resolution and explain why it differs from the last time. Regardless of the outcome, she will keep the commissioners updated at that time.
Beth Moore-Sumners noted that she would not be changing the BLI accounts until June 30 to ensure all changes to the 21-22 budget are incorporated.
County Executive Greene mentioned the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) water infrastructure plan funding of $3.7M and how difficult interfacing with the rules is, giving they change often. She said she had met with all the county utility districts to go over the rules and the rules have now changed again. With this funding, the County Executive decides how the dollars are used and there can only be one applicant turned in. Given the changing rules and the different needs of the utility districts within Giles County, the application will not be done until around September. She stated further that some counties have decided not to accept the funding given the difficulty.
The offer to the Baptist Association for a new ambulance location. In the usual process this offer approved previously by another committee would have to come to the Budget committee. However, the Association knowing of the offer have said they will not accept the offer of $1M. Commissioner Stoney Jackson described the land across the road from the animal shelter as another potential location, and described the ownership to be county, so could use funding for a new building rather than having to buy land and modifying an existing building. The question of who does own that property was discussed with the consensus being the lines are jumbled up, and the County Executive said she had asked the Highway Department to clean up that area, after asking if the city agreed. Questions about using that location for expansion of the animal shelter and possibilities of a Justice Center were raised. Questions about the sewer system at the Baptist location was also discussed. Per Commissioner Gayle Jones she had discussed this with others including the people who installed the septic tanks and with only a small repair possibly thought the system had little problem. Commissioner Wamble asked if the county had an estimate on remodeling the building, and after being answered no, asked how much was done on the SWAN building, with that answer being around $540K. Mentioned however was that the remodeling to the Baptist building, due to more complexity, would be considerably higher. Additional discussion on whether the building should be a new one in another location, or the Baptist building and remodel. A motion by Commissioner Wamble to offer $1.2M was made, seconded by Commissioner Worsham. After some discussion, Commissioner Gayle Jones made the motion that the offer be amended to $1.3M, however that motion failed due to no second. Other areas of discussion: response time important, no less than 4 acres needed and prefer five, Baptist location approximately 10 acres with only 5 usable. Commissioner Cesarini questioned the need for a new building with a good brick building currently being used, and another building available soon, the 911 building which will soon be empty. Commissioner Wamble said ready to move on, Commissioner Sutton said good central location outside of city limits with less traffic, Commissioner Harwell current location the worse due to being in a residential area, and Commissioner Butler the Baptist location easy access to other parts of the county, and the existing building not designed for today’s equipment. A motion by Commissioner Wamble and seconded by Commissioner Worsham resulted in a 5-2 vote to send a $1.2M offer to the full commission, with Commissioners Tim Risner and Roger Reedy voting no.
Commissioner Wamble raised the issue of helping the senior citizens with lower property tax. Since this had been discussed several times before, he commented he didn’t want it to just die with no solution. Commissioner Curry stated she didn’t think there was funding in the budget just now. Commissioner Pollard stated concerns about having to survey property given the relief would only cover resident and 5 acres, so anyone owning more property would have to survey for those 5 acres. However, Commissioner Curry said a survey would not be necessary, and that “division of property” and associated taxes could be accomplished mathematically at the Trustee’s Office. Commissioner Pollard then said 65 and older take $100 off. Commissioner Wamble said he agreed the process needed to be simple, and to use both the age limit and the income limit (now done on tax relief). And also, to keep in mind, there is nothing free, that reducing some peoples’ taxes could result in others having to pay increased taxes. Commissioner Adams questioned the use of the $1.2M offer to buy the Baptist Association location and using the general fund for that and other recent reductions to the general fund which he stated cannot continue without a tax increase. A motion by Commissioner Reedy and seconded by Commissioner Wamble to leave “things as they are” (no change to the current tax relief offer) was made and was approved.
Old Business – Commissioner Tracy Wilburn questioned why under the Non-Profit/Charitables the Minor Hill library was the only library within the county that was not funded. Per Commissioner Curry that library did not follow the rules established. Per Commissioner Wilburn comments from his district have been that the application is a deterrent, and takes the taxes paid by the people in Minor Hill with no return, i.e. the Minor Hill Library. Commissioner Wamble noted that while he voted against it in committee, he planned to bring up in the next full commission. He was informed by several that to do that would basically result in the county not having an approved budget at the start of the fiscal year, given the timelines for publishing a revised amount for a non-profit. An option was mentioned to bring up in July.
A motion by Commissioner Harwell and seconded by Commissioner Gayle Jones to adjourn was made and was approved.
Attendees: Members of Committee – Commissioners Chairman Erin Curry, Larry Worsham, David Adams, Roger Reedy, David Wamble, Gayle Jones, Terry Harwell for Judy Pruett (absent)/ Other Commissioners Stoney Jackson, Duane Jones, Tracy Wilburn, Tommy Pollard, Rodney Journey, Harold Brooks, Mike Cesarini, Rose Brown, Joseph Sutton, Joyce Woodard, Tim Risner, Bill Cary, Brad Butler/ Other County Executive Melissa Greene, Financial Management Beth Moore-Sumners, Nancy Griffin, and members of the public