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August 8, 2013 Issue

Glascock BOE raises millage rate
Back to class...
Senior center to reopen

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Glascock BOE raises millage rate

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Glascock County Board of Education is asking property owners to pay more in taxes to make up for a reduction in state funding.

The board recently announced a tentative millage increase, which will mean property taxes will increase 10.02 percent over last year. The increase is 1.538 mills for a total of 16.890.


For now, this is a tentative increase. The BOE will hold three public hearings at its office at 738 Railroad Ave. in Gibson.

The first two are scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 8, one at 11 a.m. and the other at 6:30 p.m.

The third and final hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 15, at 6:30 p.m. The board’s regular meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 15.

It is expected that the board will vote during its regular meeting on the millage rate.

The hearings and the meeting are open to the public.

“All I can say is this is a direct result of state funding cuts,” said Jim Holton, the county’s school board superintendent.

Holton also pointed to an increase in health care insurance for the school’s non-certified staff.

“Our employer’s portion for our non-certified staff has increased 274 percent in the last three years. If you add the next 12 months to that, it’ll be a total amount of 358 percent,” Holton said.

In a press release, the board stated the proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value $100,000 is approximately $57; and, the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $100,000 is approximately $60.

Glascock Commission
Glascock County Commissioners have had at least two work sessions to discuss the county’s budget.

The commissioners discussed requests for increases by three departments.

The Probate and Magistrate Office requested an increase of $4,000. The Clerk of Court requested an increase of $3,500. The increase requested by the tax commissioner was $1,000.

The commissioners discussed the various requests. Commissioner Barbara Hadden suggested the clerk’s increase should be approved at half of the request or $1,750, which was approved.

Commissioner Lori Boyen asked if the other requests should be left as they were.

“I think so because they have proven themselves,” said Commission Chairman Audrey Chalker.

The commissioners also discussed a request by the sheriff’s department for an additional fulltime deputy, which they approved.

In order to keep the millage rate the same, 12.24, and include the increases for two of the departments and the deputy’s salary, Boyen said the county will pull funds from the fund balance to make the budget work.

The commission is expected to vote on these issues during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Aug. 6.

Decisions made during a work suggestion cannot be acted upon until approved in a public meeting.

“We’re not going to raise the millage rate,” Chalker said in an interview Tuesday. “I think our total budget is not going to go up more than $30,000. So that would not cause us to raise it.”

Back to class...

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Sometimes it’s harder for mom and dad to say goodbye. Parents give students at Wrens Elementary and Louisville Academy last minute hugs and kisses Monday. Students in all Jefferson and Glascock county schools went back to class this week.


Senior center to reopen

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

After a loss of funding caused Jefferson County Commissioners to close the county’s senior center several months ago, the county administrator, Adam Mestres, is hoping to reopen the center within the next month or so.

Mestres said this week interviews for a director for the center will be held soon.


“I’m hoping in the next two weeks,” he said Tuesday.

About half of the 21 applicants for the position made it to the interview process, he said.

“Because of the nature of this position, we want to make every effort to find the most qualified person who will fit the needs of our seniors and the community,” Mestres said Tuesday, July 30.

“The funding is in place,” he said.

“We have the revenue we have budgeted out of the general fund as well as funding from the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) will be re-established once the center is officially open,” he said.

The date has not been set yet for the reopening; however, Mestres said once the director is chosen there will be a series of trainings to be completed.

After that, preparation to reopen the center will start.

“We plan to do a grand reopening to introduce the new director,” Mestres said.

"We will also be looking to hire an assistant director. Posting an application period will take place after the new director is named,” he said.

Mestres said the director will oversee hiring of the assistant.

“After the interviews, we will select the finalists and then possibly conduct second interviews on the top three. That second interview will involve myself and the county commission chairman, Mitchell McGraw,” Mestres said.

Each of the commissioners had expressed dismay at having to close the center.

Commissioner Tommy New said at the time the center, which New said had started more than 30 years ago, was very near and dear to him.

“To all of us,” Commissioner Johnny Davis said.

When the motion was made and the vote, which was unanimous, cast, New said, “By far, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

The cut in funding, about $60,000, was more than half the cost for operating the center. Mestres said in February, when the closing was announced, the budget for the senior center for fiscal year 2013 was $110,469.

Last week, Commissioner Wayne Davis said the commissioners had considered the closing carefully.

“The closing of the senior center was not made in haste, but because of lost revenue,” he said.

“Now that the state has reinstated the money in the budget, I only hope we will get a very energetic and professional individual who will address the seniors’ needs, but also realize to remain open, the participation has got to be increased substantially.”

“As soon as it’s feasible to open it back up, we’re going to open it back up,” New said. “We’ve got to make sure every I is dotted and every T is crossed so we can get our funding but just as soon as we have everything in place we’re going to open it back up.”

Commission Chairman Mitchell McGraw said the commissioners were going through the process of trying to hire the right person so the center can be reopened.

“And people will have a center they can go to and that we can be proud of,” he said last week.

“And that a lot of people will want to go to it. Have a lot of excitement and have new things to do and that they can be proud of,” McGraw said.

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