County mayor cancels April commission meeting

Published 10:24 am Saturday, April 4, 2015

As the county prepares to begin the budget cycle for the next fiscal year, concerns with the current budget have led to the cancellation of the Carter County Commission’s regular April meeting.

The meeting was cancelled by County Mayor Leon Humphrey, who cited financial concerns as the major reason behind his decision.

“The previous commission didn’t properly fund for meetings,” Humphrey said. “We are in a deficit right now.”

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In addition to the regular monthly meetings the group holds, the commission has also held two special called meetings this year, Humphrey said. One of those was held in July when the previous commission called a special meeting to override Humphrey’s veto of the 2014-15 budget. The second called meeting was held in September when the commission had to revisit committee appointments after the county received a letter from the Tennessee Office of Open Records Counsel which said the process used by the governing body to decide the appointments appeared to violate state law.

Because of the extra meetings and inadequate funding, Humphrey said the county may have to shift funding around to cover the expenses. By canceling the April meeting, Humphrey said he hopes to lessen the burden on the county.

Before deciding to cancel a meeting, Humphrey said he spoke with County Finance Director Ingrid Deloach to see which meeting, if any, could be canceled without impacting the budget planning process for the upcoming fiscal year.

“She recommended the month of April,” Humphrey said. “That gives us May and June to work on the budget.”

While he made the call to cancel the meeting of the full commission, the decision to cancel committee meetings was left up to the chairs of the individual committees, Humphrey said.

Those committees with pressing business kept their meetings on tap, while those without were given the option of cancelling their April meetings.

Among those cancelling were the Building and Grounds, Rules and Bylaws, Law Enforcement and the Health and Welfare committees which were slated to meet on April 7. The Budget and Nominating committees also cancelled their meetings set for April 13.

The full Commission was scheduled to hold their regular monthly meeting on April 20 but that has also been cancelled.

However, not all the committees had the opportunity to cancel their April meetings since pressing business needed to be addressed.

The Financial Management committee met on April 1 in order to select a new insurance broker for the county as the budget process begins to move forward for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Highway Committee will not only meet on April 6 at 6 p.m., the group will hold a public hearing on a proposed name change for Highway 91. The committee previously voted to recommend the full commission approve a name change for the road, which is currently the Rondal Cole Memorial Highway. The proposal would change the name to the Ralph and Rondal Cole Memorial Highway to also honor Rondal’s brother Ralph, who served as Carter County’s state representative in Nashville for several years.

The Landfill and Education committees, which share their members and meeting night with the Highway committee, will also meet on April 6. Those meetings will following the Highway committee meeting and public hearing.

Changes to the County Commission meeting schedule do not impact the Carter County Board of Education, which meets on its own schedule.

Members board will meet in a workshop session on April 9 at 4 p.m. at the school system’s administration building on Academy Street. A representative of the Tennessee Department of Education is on the agenda to address the group regarding some changes in state standards and requirements.

The board will hold its regular monthly meeting on April 16 at 5:30 p.m. at Happy Valley Middle School.