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Calm reigns at Wilson County Commission

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Monday night’s Wilson County Commission meeting was quiet compared to some recent monthly meetings, with little to no discussion of the 12 resolutions dealing with budget matters.  

In non-budget related matters, the County Commission honored the late W.J. “Mac” McCluskey, who served as a county commissioner for 31 years, was an original member of the Wilson County Emergency Commission’s District “911” Board and became board chair, by including a resolution that honored him in April 2012 for all of his contributions to Wilson County throughout his lifetime.

The commission also honored retiring Commissioner Billy Rowland of District 12 for “his years of service on the Wilson County Public Records Committee,” which he began serving on in 1995, shortly after being elected.

Rowland will retire from his commission seat on Aug. 31, “after 20 years of continuous service to Wilson County,” with 19 years of that time spent on the Public Records Committee as well as other Commissions and Committees.

District 14 Commissioner Jeff Joines sponsored the resolution, which concluded by stating: “His service on the Public Records Committee has helped, and will continue to help, past, present and future citizens of Wilson County to maintain the rich history of this great county and its communities.”

The commission also honored the Wilson Central High School FFA Chapter, which was selected as “the outstanding program in Tennessee by the Tennessee Association of Agriculture Educators at the 86th Annual Tennessee FFA Convention in Gatlinburg in March 2014.”

Kevin Alan Robertson, the son of Kevin and Dana Robertson was named the State FFA president at the convention. Kevin is a senior at WCHS and has a 4.16 GPA and is the fourth state FFA president from Wilson Central in its 13-year history.

He was named the 2013 Extemporaneous Speaking State Champion and was a member of the State-winning Soils Judging Team in 2013. In addition to his FFA honors, he “is an accomplished musician who has played his banjo in a variety of venues, including the Grand Old Opry in Nashville,” according to the resolution.

District 5 Commissioner Jerry McFarland sponsored this resolution, as well as another one honoring the Wilson Central FFA program, which will now compete for the national award. In this resolution, the commission honored FFA Advisors Pam Walker, Benny McDonald and Sara Kleihauer, “who continue to provide expert guidance and assistance in allowing the Wilson Central High School FFA Chapter to be the best that they can be.”

Budget items approved

In budget-related items, the county commission approved the following agenda items:

  • By a vote of 20-3, the commission approved a resolution allowing the Wilson County Board of Education to cover the salaries of four deputy superintendent positions created by the former BOE Director Tim Setterlund.

At the Budget Committee meeting on April 10, McFarland made a motion that the previous decision to not fund these positions stand and the item be removed from the agenda. After a great deal of discussion, the motion died for lack of a second.

Budget Committee Chair Mike Justice of District 15 said he had considered the resolution under the worst duress that he can remember in his county commission days. Eventually Justice made a motion to transfer the funds, which will prevent an audit finding for the BOE, but only until June 30, 2014 and that they not be included in the continuation budget for the fiscal year 2014-2015. Education Committee Chair Annette Stafford of District 20 seconded it.

McFarland was the only Budget Committee member to vote against the motion, and he was joined by District 6 Commissioner Kenny Reich and District 7 Commissioner Terry Scruggs in voting no at the full commission meeting.

  • By a vote of 22-1, the commission approved an amendment to the Wilson County Zoning Ordinance concerning the Radio, Cell Town and Telecommunications Policy. District 1 Commissioner Becky Sevier cast the lone no vote.

By a vote of 23-0, the commission approved the following resolutions:

  • To request the unclaimed balance of accounts remitted to the state treasurer under the Unclaimed Property Act for the year ending Dec. 31, 2014 in the amount of $58,604.94. District 4 Commissioner Chad Barnard and District 10 Commissioner Nathan Clariday were both absent.
  • To modify the distribution of reserve funds from the Victims Assistance Assessment Litigation Tax so that 85 percent of the reserve will go to the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program and 15 percent will go to the Child Advocacy Center effective with disbursements that began in January 2014.
  • To amend the budget and appropriations for the 2013-2014 fiscal year for the BOE’s General Purpose School Program Fund Budget to replace a bus totaled by the insurance company; to cover start-up supplies for the new Watertown Middle School; to cover start-up books for the library at WMS and to cover start-up operating funds for WMS for a total of $160,000.
  • To put into budget funds from data processing reserve in the County Clerk’s office for the purchase of a computer, printers, etc., and transfer from staff development.
  • To transfer $5,760 funds for reimbursement to be paid to Wilson Emergency Management Agency from NRG per the contract and to transfer $25,000 from the General Fund to the Vehicle Maintenance and Repair budget.
  • To put into the Wilson County Archives’ budget donations received and grant money from the State of Tennessee in the amount of $2,924.65.
  • To put into the Wilson County Election Commission budget state grant funds to lease additional voting machines in the amount of $28,000.
  • To request Capital Projects’ funds to replace the roof on the Election Commission building in the amount of $90,000.
  • To transfer $30,000 to the Trustee’s office to cover tax refunds.

Wilson County Finance Director Aaron Maynard reported that property taxes have been collected in an amount that is a 103 percent of what was budgeted. In addition, 90 percent of the county’s total revenues have been collected.

In addition, the county’s General Fund balance stands at $2,268,631, according to Maynard, which is $268,631 above the required minimum fund balance of $2 million.

Amelia Morrison Hipps is a correspondent for The Wilson Post. She may be reached at amhipps@downhomepolitics.com.

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Billy Rowland, budget, late W.J. "Mac" McCluskey, Wilson County Commission
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