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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Cocke County Budget Committee
Members of the Cocke County Budget Committee met again Tuesday evening in their effort to finalize a 2019/20 county budget. The committee agreed to increase the county hotel/motel tax to seven percent, up from the current three percent. The $300,000 collected this year from the tax, is expected to more than double under the hiked rate. The Tennessee General Assembly will be required to modify the current Private Act before the new rate will go into effect. Currently the revenue goes into the county's General Fund but Jennifer Brown of the Partnership questioned whether the increased funding could be used to increase marketing of the community. Currently only $25,000 is earmarked for marketing in the Partnership budget. Brown pointed out that a consultant had previously suggested that stream of revenue to promote the community. She also told the committee that the Partnership currently receives funding at a level that is $80,000 less than the level of funding ten years ago. Committee Chair Forrest Clevenger also suggested the $2 fee collected from each whitewater rafter be used to market and promote that sport. Members also discussed ways to increase the attendance of members at committee meetings. On a motion by Commissioner Terry Dawson, the body agreed to set pay at $450 monthly per commissioner, but with a reduction of $50 for each meeting that is missed. The committee also is looking at implementing a bio-metric employee pay system to better monitor attendance and overtime. Clevenger said under such a system, payroll would be handled electronically. County Attorney Brittany Vick will be asked to research the issue of overtime in the sheriff's department. Chair Clevenger has expressed concern on numerous occasions regarding the overtime level in the department and the fire department. He told his fellow members that the public needs to know when department heads are not adequately monitoring overtime expenditures. Although the current budget has $2.7 million in unspent appropriations, that figure is expected to drop my months' end, when the fiscal year ends. Finance Manager Heather McGaha told the committee that the new budget currently anticipates spending that is $860,000 greater than anticipated revenue.

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Monday, June 24, 2019

  • NU power outage
  • Judge Duane Slone honored
  • Opioid deaths decrease in Tennessee
  • Congress blocks Saudi arms sales
  • Baby milk formula is recalled
  • Newport Street Department

    Sunday, June 23, 2019

  • Housing starts in Tennessee
  • Retirement costs
  • Suicide increases in Tennessee

    Friday, June 21, 2019

  • Roe representative to be in Newport

    Thursday, June 20, 2019

  • McCord visits Newport
  • Alexander sponsors legislation to reduce out of pocket medical costs
  • Messer arrest
  • Special session of CLB

    Wednesday, June 19, 2019

  • Cocke County budget discussions continue
  • Phillips charged in double murder
  • ETSU tuition to increase
  • Small business job growth
  • Library is closed

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