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Budget Committee Meeting Minutes – March 3, 2023 (Approved)

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3 MARCH 2023


The Chair Commissioner Erin Curry opened the meeting asking for a motion on the minutes of 9 February 2023.  A motion by Commissioner Mathew Hopkins and seconded by Commissioner Judy Pruett to approve those minutes was made and was approved unanimously.  Prayer and pledge were foregone since had been offered/led in another same day meeting.


The Chair asked for a motion on School Amendments for the Career Technical Education (CTE) Innovative School Model Grant for $2.7M and Special Education for $40K for contractual service which had been discussed and approved by the School Committee in same day meeting.  A motion by Commissioner Judy Pruett and seconded by Commissioner Mathew Hopkins to approve the amendment was made and was approved unanimously.


The Chair then asked for a motion to approve the revised budget calendar, noting the only change being the non-profit organizations timeline to requesting financial support and providing completed applications.  That being, approximately 04/01 – 05/01.  A motion by Commissioner Mathew Hopkins and seconded by Commissioner Terry Jones was made for approval and was unanimously approved.


The next agenda item – Paramedic Training Reimbursement.  Emergency Management Services Director Mr. Bill Myers  provided some past actions in funding the paramedic training stating the reimbursement in February 2020 was $5K, but given rising costs the amount approved by the Ambulance Committee was $8781.  Further this reimbursement first uses other sources such as grants, and uses the $8781, or parts thereof, as the last source of funding.  Commissioner Hopkins asked about the process, e.g. how long do they have to stay to receive the reimbursement with Bill Myers saying all or any of the three years since the reimbursement is spread over three years and only paid by reaching certain milestones.  He also said at this time there is only one person eligible for this reimbursement with two more by next year.  Commissioner Evan Baddour asked if this would be expanded  for high school students.  Bill Myers said they would hire out of high school for basic EMT effort, with a year before eligible to get into this program (Advanced EMT).  Commissioner David Adams asked about staffing for the Ambulance Richland station and was told it would be full time, only if staff is available (staff is voluntary).  Commissioner Adams also asked about the Minor Hill Ambulance station  and with Commissioner Tracy Wilburn answering, the location was operating out of a city building and they didn’t have enough staffing to keep it open.  They had applied for a grant which failed to be approved, and without staffing the Minor Hill location is not functioning.  A motion by Commissioner Mathew Hopkins to approve, and with Commissioner Terry Jones providing the second, the motion was approved to increase the funding to $8781 per eligible employee(s).


Next Agenda Item – Voting Machine Grant.  The County Executive (CE) Graham Stowe said that there is a state mandate to  update the voting machines, with each Tennessee county choosing which vendor is chosen.  This requires $242,350 from general funds with the expectation that within 120 days the county will be reimbursed those funds by the state.  Director of Financial Management said this is atypical in how the county would usually move on a grant, but given that it is state mandated, the contract could be signed without having that reimbursement in hand.  The Chair noted the action is not urgent.  A motion by Commissioner David Adams and seconded by Commissioner Mathew Hopkins, to approve subject to receiving the “grant.”  Motion approved.  Commissioner Annelle Guthrie asked about going back to voting by paper, with the CE answering that would be an election commission decision.


Next Agenda Item – Nonprofit Application.  The Chair noted that after discussions with the Financial Manager and the CE, the funding for the Agri-park, a non-profit, would remain within the county’s budget as a line item since the property is county and the employee is county.  She also noted there were a few edits made to the Rules with the application dates being changed on acceptance, i.e., from April 1st through May 1st.  On the applications, she said, for the libraries who operate under a Maintenance of Effort (MoE) and the Fire and Rescue service they could be given extra consideration.  If they ask for additional funding over previous year’s funding, then that would be vetted.  Commissioner Hopkins stated there should be no protected class.  Commissioner Roger Reedy spoke on New Canaan which was funded in the last budget from the drug and alcohol reserve account, an account that continues to receive funds.  Would they still follow the same process was asked.  Commissioner David Adams noted the Fire and Rescue are volunteers and do a good job, and due to inflation will probably need more dollars every year.  He stated he was in favor of giving them a little leeway, e.g. nn failure to complete on time or other circumstances.  The Chair noted the applications are not due until May 1st so time is available to complete a decision matrix.  She also noted the following changes to the application format:  Change due date to May 1st.  Under accomplishments, show how dollars spent.  There would be a new 9, showing other government agency funding, and noted that the county gives SCHRA $3K.  There would be a new 10, in particular focusing on Giles County citizens being impacted, rather than other counties.  There would be a new 11 showing which Giles County communities are served.  Then the paragraphs are renumbered with previous 9 now being number 12.  Number 13 addressing commissioner representation on the organization’s Board of Directors,  and since receiving county funding, discussion started on having a commissioner placed on their board.  Another discussion by Commissioner Caleb Savage, if a commissioner serves on the Board of the organization they shouldn’t vote on funding as he sees that as a conflict of interest.  Commissioner Reedy noted there is a statement everyone has to read that they can be impartial.  Commissioner Gayle Jones asked if they applications should be limited to 10 as some members not on the budget committee would potentially either want or would be given a copy.  In addition, she would like to have copies of their bylaws.  The Chair said that would be added to 14.  The Chair also said all applications should be collated and bound with that wording included in the application format.  Commissioner Mathew Hopkins raised the issue of non-profits potentially being “politically active”.  Commissioner Savage then said they would not be qualified as a non-profit.  The CE read the IRS guidelines defining the “politically active” and with a motion from Commissioner Mathew Rubelsky and seconded by Commissioner Terry Jones, to use the IRS guidelines for this Line, with the Chair noting this was a separate issue, and a motion would be requested on all the other changes noted.  A somewhat spirited discussion took place on social media information vs what was considered factual.  Commissioner Brad Butler noted that the concern expressed did not happen since he sat in on that Board meeting.  Commissioner Shelly Goolsby suggested the wording was somewhat subjective, with Dr. James Lathrop saying the organization had to actively fund something, not just an individual but the actual organization.  A roll call on the motion was done by the chair with all voting yes and was approved.


The Chair then called for a motion on the overall changes and Commissioner Mathew Hopkins moved for approval and with Commissioner Gayle Jones seconding, the motion was unanimously approved.  Some additional discussion ensued over commissioner representation on Board of Directors, e.g., the library in the condition that they choose who they want, and that while the Giles County library is unique and does follow the letter of the law, the CE said he felt they were not following the spirit of it and that needed further discussion.  The Chair stated her concern that requiring commissioner representation on the non-profit boards would be an over reach.  Commissioner Goolsby said we don’t own the property and in comparison, to the Agri-park which is mostly funded by the county, the library receives funding from several sources.  Commissioner Tracy Wilburn said the Blue Grass sets the rules for Board members.  The CE said the update to the Rules and Application Format will be on the website and will be available in the next full legislative body meeting.  Commissioner Wamble said the motion will need a 2/3 vote since the rules are changes, however there was disagreement on whether the rules had been changed or only the application.  There was also considerable agreement that the Budget Committee spent an inordinate amount of time on debating the non-profits and the Financial Management Director said a proposal might be that after the June 30th cut on the budget that the commission could then come back and review the funding for non-profits.  She also gave an hypothetical example that a $60K block be set aside for the non-profits which would then be approved in part or total on non-profits after the end of the fiscal year.  A motion by Commissioner Evan Baddour, seconded by Commissioner Terry Jones to do the review after budget for non-profits other than the libraries and the Fire and Rescue.  That motion was unanimously approved.  It was noted that the application period remain the same.  The CE said would need a resolution.  The CE also gave an update on Commissioner Maurice Woodard who has chosen to retire for personal reasons.  The CE said he had discussed with CTAS for guidelines on filling that representation and would probably do the appointment recommendation in April, giving candidates time to come in.  Commissioner Terry Jones noted there is a maximum 120 day limit and the CE said also a minimum of 7 days.   Commissioner David Adams noted even someone from the audience may nominate, and Commissioner Evan Baddour said the candidates must live in Commissioner Woodard’s district.  A question about serving on the same committees as Commissioner Woodard had was raised with Commissioner Reedy said usually the committees get together and reassign.

Old Business – Commissioner Gayle Jones asked if better numbers could be provided, through a survey, for the increase in county funding for family insurance participants.  The Financial Management Director said they have had discussions with the department heads about doing surveys.


New Business – The Financial Management Director said on the 3oth of March, from 1 – 4 p.m., in the new OEM building a work session to train on the budget process, e.g., how to read the budget, explanation of resources, etc. would take place.   She noted it is voluntary training, and the CE said not a public session.  The Financial Management Director said they had never done this before, but with the Chair also noting, saw this as very beneficial to all.  Dr. Beard asked if she could possibly attend, with the Financial Management Director saying absolutely, as well as any other Department Heads.


A motion by Commissioner David Adams and seconded by Commissioner Mathew Hopkins to adjourn was made and was unanimously approved.




ATTENDEES:  Members of the Committee Chair Commissioner Erin Curry, Commissioners: Terry Jones, David Adams, Matt Hopkins, Gayle Jones, Evan Baddour and Judy Pruett Other Commissioners in attendance:  Brad Butler, Shelly Goolsby, Tracy Wilburn, Dr. James Lathrop, Matt Rubelsky, Caleb Savage, Joseph Sutton, David Wamble, Joyce Woodard, Annelle Guthrie, Roger Reedy  Other:  County Executive Graham Stowe, Financial Management Director Beth Moore-Sumners, Nancy Griffin, Department School Superintendent Dr. Vickie Beard, Emergency Management Services Bill Myers, and members of the public