Thursday, January 13, 2011

LIVE BLOG: Special Called Budget Committee Meeting - 2011.1.13

To open this meeting, we are hearing from Chairman Billy Ray about the projects over the last several years - Archives, the Jail, the Courthouse, etc. etc.

Billy Ray: There is an issue of raising taxes, but we cannot think of it this way as much as we should "pay for what we have done."

UPDATE #1 - Now, we are hearing from our Financial Advisor, Thomas D. McAnulty of Stephens, Inc. // The Commissioners should have the facts and options. // This meeting will help us see where you are, how you got here, and what's steps you should take... // Going through the indebtedness, and reasons for said indebtedness since 1999

UPDATE #2 - 6:14pm - As a side note, any one that would like copies of these figures presented by Mr. McAnulty, please contact me. I have a costs of all of these outlays.

UPDATE #3 - 6:16pm - Still from Mr. McAnulty: Now going through the current indebtedness. // He is going through bond markets, and providing some information on the relevance of these docs.

UPDATE #4 - 6:18pm - By the way, the Commissioners here tonight: Steve Haley, Shannon Polen, Don Eden, Carol Dugger, Faye Stubblefield, Billy Ray, Tommy Jackson, Billy Vogle, James Bowens, Patsi Gregory, Bobby Jones, Bill Grey and Bubb Dorris.

UPDATE #5 - 6:23pm - Our Credit ratings: S&P: A+ / Moody's AA3

UPDATE #6 - 6:27pm - We have a "good" credit rating, and there are only two others counties have a better standing in the State of Tennessee

UPDATE #7 - 6:33pm - Hearing the fundamentals: "Understanding County Budgets" // Going through the particulars of what we, as a county, are REQUIRED to provide to the citizens of a county - education, jails & correctional services, etc. Interesting: studies show that 90% of a typical budget are non-discretional expenditures.

Here we go: "Paying for what we borrowed"

UPDATE #8 - 6:39pm - May be elementary, but bonds are a contractual obligation to pay - state will intervene with the requirement to raise property taxes in the event that we cannot meet those obligations.

Even though we are new....we have inherited certain debts.....See, but I feel as though my obligation is to first look at what we can be more responsible for, first.

UPDATE #9 - 6:44pm - We are operating at -4,882,000 expenses

UPDATE #10 - 6:53pm - Possibility that the 2012 property appraisal going down..... // Serious problem with funding debt service fund

UPDATE #11 - 7:01pm - Mr. McAnulty: In order to cover, the property tax increase would need to be $00.34 right now to cover debt service estimates.

UPDATE #11 - 7:03pm - Going through a proposed resolution. Now we are going through the semantics of what a property tax increase is.....basically, because we are so far in debt, we HAVE to "adjust" the property tax rate.

UPDATE #12 - 7:06pm - OPTIONS: Re-structure & Re-finance: We could reduce the amount of the property tax increase, we could delay the property tax increase....Basically, looking at an approach to stagger the tax increases for each year.

UPDATE #13 - 7:10 - See, what comes to mind in this entire discussion, I have not heard one reference as to this County operating at the peak of efficiency, and that there is no alternative BUT to raise taxes and/or re-structure this debt. My initial impression is that we must look back to what we have been entrusted before looking for more to entrust ourselves with...

UPDATE #14 - 7:13pm - Listening to the added costs (outside of the interest rates on these bonds).

It is sobering when you hear that borrowing $15mil will cost $9mil.

Winding up....


  1. Sounds like we have to figure what we could do without - which is NEVER fun. OR decide to pay for the things we want. I'm open to cutting things and making things more efficient. But, getting to agreement on what the priorities are is the difficult part.

  2. after this meeting my head hurts

  3. It is amazing of the amount of debt, and that even years later after spending the money we are still looking for ways to pay for that debt. Even more amazing is every county commission meeting there is some area that is still coming to the commission asking for more money.