Funds transferred to pay for BCSO locks

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 1/13/19

More than $280,000 will be transferred from Bradley County’s liability account to its undesignated fund balance, to pay for locks at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office.

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Funds transferred to pay for BCSO locks

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More than $280,000 will be transferred from Bradley County’s liability account to its undesignated fund balance, to pay for locks at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office.

The Bradley County Commission’s Finance Committee approved a budget amendment to move $287,433 from the liability account — under health insurance payments — to the county building fund for “other construction.”

“Per the auditors recommendation this money will be moved from the liability account and placed into General Fund Balance,” according to the statement describing the amendment. “We will then be moving this to County Building budget to pay for the locks at the Sheriff’s Department.”

When asked if there is such a thing as liability account, Finance Committee Chairman Milan Blake said he was unaware of one.

Bradley County Finance Director Rena’ Samples said there is a liability account and it is used for items like receiving COBRA benefits, under health insurance payments.

“This is the account we put money in that COBRA payments come in,” Samples said. She added the fee offices also have payroll through that account, and there are other uses.

“It should be almost zeroing out every month,” Samples said. “Money’s always going through that account.”

Blake said at the end of November the account had $229,000 in it, questioning if it now has the $287,433 in the amendment request.

Samples said  that amount is available. She said the county waits to collect money before paying out for insurance and other costs from that account.

Blake asked why the money is being moved to building construction.

Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis said the state auditors told the finance department to reconcile the account on a monthly basis. The funds are going to county buildings because it will be used to pay for locks at the jail.

An audit of Bradley County’s 2017-2018 fiscal year budget by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury’s office showed four findings and recommendations. Offices noted with findings are the Office of County Mayor, Office of Clerk and Master, and Office of Register of Deeds.

Blake said he plans to ask the auditors about the account and reconciling it monthly.

Davis noted the funds in the liability account are “additional money” not budgeted  elsewhere in the budget.

The Finance Committee also approved accepting several contributions/donations to Bradley County, including:

• Juvenile Court — $100 from Kiwanis Club of Cleveland to be used for Juvenile Drug Court programs; $1,000 from Kiwanis Club of Cleveland to be used for Juvenile Drug/Recovery Court programs; and $5,000 from the George R. Johnson Family Foundation to be used for Juvenile Drug/Recovery Court programs.

• Bradley County Fire-Rescue — $200 from Black Fox United Methodist Church, to go toward “food supplies.”

In other business, the Finance Committee:

• Approved the 2019-2020 budget preparation calendar.

“This is the version you all said you wanted at the last meeting,” Davis said.

Blake said the other option was to adopt the budget on July 15 — he still thinks it would be good to have more time.

Commissioner Thomas Crye said he recognizes Blake’s concern, but he doesn’t agree with extending the calendar. He said state statute says counties should adopt their budget by June 30. The budget calls for approval on July 1.  Crye said he doesn’t support waiting until July 15.

Davis has noted in previous meetings that June 30 is on a Sunday this year, and July 1 is recognized as the next business day.

“I’ll go along with what we’ve got here,” Crye said.

The committee approved the budget preparation calendar 4-1, with Blake voting against it.

• Approved several payments received for services rendered by the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office for special detail duty. The payments were approved in one motion, and included:

• $8,764.03 from First Baptist Church of Cleveland

• $104.01 from North Lee Elementary School

• $267.10 from Walker Valley High School

• $818.97 from Ocoee Middle School

• $168.68 from Dwelling Place Church

• $2,574.16 from Gujarati Samaj of Cleveland

• $238.29 from WestWood Baptist Church

• $482.37 from Toyota of Cleveland

• $214.94 from Mount Olive Church of God

• Heard from Davis that Bradley County has a long-range plan for capital projects, and  information is available in the budget.

Davis said he recently received a telephone call from a man suggesting he create a capital projects fund to pay for needs, instead of incurring debt.

Davis said Bradley has its Other Capital Projects Fund that, for example, was used in the current fiscal year to pay the balances on the Bradley County Veterans Home and Lake Forest Middle School.

In addition, Davis said he hopes to pay $850,000 from the fund on the $2.2 million PIE Center — due July 1, but is also hoping for an extension on the balance.

In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, if the commissioners don’t dip into that fund, Davis said there will be $1.45 million, which is what is owed on the PIE Center.

“Then if you don’t do anything and leave it a while” the fund will have $1.9 million the following fiscal year, and $3.2 million the next fiscal year, he said.

“That is the long-range plan, if you don’t touch it,” Davis said, adding the fund is currently accumulating enough to pay off the PIE Center next year.

“I need every penny I have to go toward the PIE Center,” Davis said, adding he plans to ask for an extension for the $1.45 million remainder payment. “We do a lot out of this fund.”

Davis said the fund was started for road projects, and paid for partial paving of Minnis Road, but such a project has not been done for a while.

• Heard the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office received its yearly Traffic Safety Grant for $45,000, for the period from October 2018 to September 2019.

Items approved by the Finance Committee will now go to the full Bradley County Commission for consideration.

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