Commission seeking status of tax, check

Published 1:30 pm Friday, May 9, 2014

With a budget commission meeting scheduled for May 20, the commissioners plan to lobby to get more money certified in the 2014 budget.

Since January Commission President Les Boggs has contended the certification of sales tax for the emergency services was shorted.

In December the budget commission, made up of the county auditor, county treasurer and county prosecutor, certified $4,930,000 for the administrative portion of the general fund, which receives 1 percent of the sales tax. Since the emergency services part gets one-half percent of the sales tax, Boggs’ argument is that certification for it should be $2,465,000 or half of the administrative portion. However the budget commission certified $2,350,000 or $115,000 less than the one-half percent.

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The reasoning for the under-certification, according to the budget commission, is to have sufficient carryover to cover January 2015 bills, which include three pay periods.

To make their argument in person, the commissioners asked to come to the May budget commission meeting.

Now, besides the sales tax issue, Commissioner Freddie Hayes Jr. wants to know the status of the $250,000 check the county received in August 2013 as part of negotiations concerning the sale of the Sherman Thompson Towers. The City of Ironton received a comparable check, which it has already spent.

At the county commission’s regular Thursday meeting, Hayes requested that a letter be sent to the auditor asking what the status of the check is.

When the check was received, the auditor’s office was concerned about possible legal stipulations on how it should be spent or even if it could be spent. Because of that, the check was put in escrow and direction was sought from the state auditor’s office. That office has yet to respond to the county auditor’s request.

In his report to the commission County Treasurer Stephen Burcham said as of April 30, sales tax for 2014 is up $54,920 over this time last year and casino revenue is running $51,947.50 higher. According to Chief Deputy Auditor Chris Kline April’s tax came in $97,500 more than in April 2013, but the first three months of 2014 were down $42,000.

In other action, the commission:

• Approved issuing a bond anticipation note for $331,533 to pay for upgrades at the Union-Rome Sewer system that serves the Collins Career Center and neighboring subdivisions. Terms are 2.25 for five years with the first payment on May 15, 2015;

• Approved hiring Samantha Miller as a part-time paramedic for the county EMS;

• Received the weekly dog warden’s report where no dogs were destroyed, 23 were adopted or sent to rescue and none were redeemed by their owners.