Commissioners Consider Fire Equipment Requests

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After approving the minutes from the January meeting, the Cannon County Commissioners jumped right into the agenda during its Feb. 14 meeting. Commissioner Mark Barker, who is also the chairman of the Budget Committee, reviewed the County General Budget Amendments.

The County received an insurance payment which was a settlement from where one of the county fire trucks from the Mooretown Volunteer Fire Department had been damaged in the amount of $5,473.75. The motion was made and passed to put the money on the line item maintenance and repair vehicles.

• Commissioner Jimmy Mingle wanted to revisit the matter of the Eastside Volunteer Fire Department on a vehicle to carry cascade equipment. There is a non working county ambulance that was decided to look into the costs of renovating it.  The transmission and engine would have to be rebuilt. The Commission would like the Fire Department to look into other options such as other trucks that could be renovated and come back next month.  They will also look at the non working Ambulance.

• The Gassaway Fire Department has a truck that needs $1,500 work on the truck itself and $3,500 on the tank that holds the water. Karen Ashford of the Gassaway Fire Department received bids from various companies. The Fire Board approved the action and Ashford brought the item before the County Commission. The tank may not be able to be fixed but the repair company will not be able to assess the situation until after they take the tank completely off the truck to look at it.  

Commissioner Tony Neal said that his opinion would be to see if the tank can be fixed before doing any work on the truck itself. The budget committee has not recommended anything. Mark Barker said the reason it was passed on at this time was that the budget committee did not know the exact dollar amount the line item of repairs were in the budget.

Commissioner Clint Higgins said that he would like to see the County purchase a truck for each of the fire departments that desperately need trucks.  Chairman Stoetzel said that he doesn't want to go back to debt services after having already paid off the long term debt for several buildings this fiscal year.

The motion was made to have the Gassaway Fire Department to get bids for fire trucks to replace the truck.

• Homeland Security Grant of $10,209 received of October 2010 but did not spend it till December 2011 for training. The fire truck that the county received from the grant paid received of February 2011.  The County's share was $10,000 and the grant was for $190,000.

The truck was not paid for until January 2012 so the money needed to go under motor vehicles. The motion was made and passed to approve the amendment.

• The Senior Citizen Center is governed by a board which is approved by the County. They have been putting their budget through the County so that they could be audited by the state auditors. The state auditors have recommended to the county executive that the county lets them take care of their own auditing. The motion was made and approved to take the action of moving the Senior Center out of the County's Budget.

• The budget amendment was approved of taking the $25,000 from County General Fund and putting it under the judgment line item to pay the federal lawsuit was settled involving Loretta Bailey against the Cannon County Sheriff and the County. Jim Bush was the only commissioner who voted against it.

• The Library Board sought budget amendments in advertising, postage, programming, and supplies. In addition the library requested that the memorial gifts for library materials be increased as they have gotten the money.

• County Tax Assessor Donald Preston has given the Commissioners a summary of the tax assessment. It shows $20,678 of growth.

The request is to try to estimate what the tax rate would be for next year. However, it is difficult thing to do at this time. Doug Bodary of CTAS says the county has to wait until the audit from last year comes out to be able to better able to estimate what the tax rate could be. The audit should be completed in the next few weeks.

• CTAS was asked by the Cannon County Commission to serve as a resource in an ad-hoc committee to study the county's existing solid waste program and look for improvements in efficiency and effectiveness. Thea Prince of the Solid Waste Study Committee approached the commissioners to inform them about the ongoing study.

The committee is currently reviewing data provided by the county, the comptroller's office and by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to compare the program with other similar programs in the State.

The Study Committee will be looking into containing or reducing if possible the solid waste operation, they will also look into ways to increase recyclables. The third item
will be to review the solid waste operation here in the County to make sure its are in compliance. Fourth item is to prepare a recommendation and present findings to the Commissioners during the March meeting.

• Circuit Court Clerk Lynne Foster and Judge Susan Melton approached the Commission. Their offices are full of records and they need more space. To alleviate the problem, they would like to rent the building that the Cannon Courier is currently in and make it into a Circuit Court building complete with chambers to hold court.

Judge Melton would like to have a feasibility study done to look at that and other options that are out there. The Courier purchased a building on Main Street, but has delayed moving into it until a new tenant is found for the space they now lease from Regions Bank. The idea would be for the courts to take over the lease of the building as one of the options.

Motion was made and approved to appoint a committee and have a feasibility study done. The committee assigned to take care of this matter is the law enforcement committee.

• Bill Herrod, who represents MARS Medical Billing, the billing company that's taken over the billing for the Cannon County Ambulance Service, discussed the collection procedures for the Ambulance Service.  For January the month summary the company submitted 123 claims to Medicare/Medicaid, commercial and private insurance and received back $41,951.00 billing at $341 a call.

The fee for the service is about 6 percent. The company can see a 10 percent increase in revenue. From 37,000 a month on average collected the increase in revenue since utilizing the medical billing company has been $43,000 on average.

Herrod went over all the information in a detailed report for the Commissioners.

• Austin Jennings representing the library was on the agenda to address the commission in regards to the building the addition to the library.  Mr. Jennings requested that the item be put on the agenda next month in order to have the opportunity to speak in front of the whole commission since three commissioners were absent at the meeting.

• The Commission approved the city's annexations of parcels surrounding the city made in 2008 and 2009 moving the boundary lines of the 5th district around the city.

Present for the meeting were Chairman Bob Stoetzel, Commissioners Jimmy Mingle, Jim Bush, Russell Reed, Mark Barker, Clint Higgins, and Tony Neal.  Absent were commissioners Kevin Mooneyham, Kevin George, and Todd Hollandsworth.

The next meeting of the Cannon County Commissioners will be Tuesday, March 14.

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