Mt. Vernon Register-News

March 26, 2013

County finances status quo

By RICK HAYES rick.hayes@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — Jefferson County’s financial situation has not changed since a Fiscal Committee last week, according to Treasurer Dan Knox.

During Monday’s County Board meeting in which Vice Chairman Donnie Rector flew through a two-page agenda in less than 30 minutes, member Jim Laird asked Knox if he had any good news to present. Knox said he had received a $20,000 franchise fee check from Charter Communications since last week’s meeting which was “not expected, but we’ll take it.”

Laird then asked Knox if the $47,000 in unpaid bills from February had been paid. Knox confirmed the bills for February and the $82,250 pending in March claims had not been paid to date, adding, “Nothing will be paid until we make that third payroll in April.”

At last week’s Fiscal Committee meeting, Knox outlined the $214,642 in outstanding claims, and if the county paid no bills by the end of April, it would remain nearly $104,000 in the red.

Board member Jeremy Hall asked why the county fell behind financially knowing there would be three payrolls in April.

Knox reiterated from last week’s meeting the county has been faced with a number of atypical expenses the last 60 days, including $128,385 in medical supplies, some $80,000 for the contractural agreement with Advance Healthcare Corrections, and employment payouts of nearly $30,000.

“It begins to snowball,” Knox said. “There have been several out of the ordinary expenses.”

Rector cautioned board members not to panic, noting, “We’ve seen it worse than this. I understand it’s a little nervous … we’ve seen it a lot worse than what we’re looking at right now. It looks dark at the end of the tunnel.”

Knox said, “In reality, we need to take action. It’s not a jumping off point, it’s not like we need to run to the hills, but we need to buckle down and make decisions on what we’re going to do.”

The board approved an audit of claims and approved pre-paid claims.

Laird also wanted to know how long county vendors would wait for their money. Knox said that was a good question, and Rector said in the past vendors have waited up to 90 days.

It was announced an officeholders meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday to discuss the county’s financial crises.

IN OTHER BUSINESS:

n Stan Drennan was formally approved as the engineering assistant for the Jefferson County Highway Department. Drennan was the only applicant for the position.

n Brandon Fitzjerrells and Steve Peoples were appointed as EMA deputy coordinators.

n The county approved a policy for micro chipping all adopted and claimed animals.

n The monthly fuel bid submitted by Synenergy for diesel and gasoline was approved.

n A federal aid agreement for a bridge project on Violet Road was approved, with a 4 percent local match on the total project cost of $212,000.

n An anti-drone ordinance was tabled following a motion by John Keele, seconded by Jeff Williams.

n Clerk Connie Simmons reported she had received a $24,000 reimbursement for a federal grant for the purchase of a balloter printer. Simmons says she uses the equipment for absentee voting.