Commissioners debate where to place funds from auction

Commissioners debate where to place funds from auction
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
The sale of $101,000 worth of surplus property at the Obion County Highway Department continues to be a sticky issue for the Obion County Commission, which debated where to deposit the money during its meeting Tuesday morning.
Gary Lofton is the local highway superintendent and recently liquidated several pieces of surplus equipment through an auction that raised $101,000. Of that amount, 10 percent went to the auctioneer and there is some disagreement about where the remaining $91,000 should be deposited — with the highway department or into the county’s General Fund.
The issue was first brought up in November 2011 and continues to be unresolved after Tuesday’s commission meeting. County attorney Steve Conley told commissioners he would look into the matter and will make a formal recommendation at the commission’s March meeting.
Mike Galey, with the County Technical Advisory Service, attended Tuesday’s commission meeting and said, in his opinion, the proceeds from the surplus sale should go to the highway department.
Commissioner Donnie Braswell lobbied to have the money transferred to the county’s General Fund.
Commissioner Andy Crocker questioned how other departments handle the proceeds from surplus sales.
Commissioner Danny Jowers, who also serves as chairman of the Budget Committee, questioned whether transferring the money to the General Fund would violate the county’s budget resolutions.
Essentially, the county has three primary funds — the General Fund, Highway Fund and School Fund. At issue is whether the surplus sales proceeds should be returned to the General Fund or whether the money should go into the highway department’s fund reserve. Highway Superintendent Gary Lofton attended Tuesday’s meeting but had little input into the issue, other than to agree with the recommendation from Galey.
There is already a motion that was unanimously approved at the commission’s November 2011 meeting to place the proceeds into the county’s General Fund, if it’s not in violation of state law.
Also during Tuesday’s near hour-long meeting, the commission approved a series of committee appointments, with one notable change. County Mayor Benny McGuire recommended and had approved replacing commissioners Polk Glover and Dwayne Hensley on the Budget Committee with commissioners Richard Arnold and Terry Roberts.
McGuire explained to the commission he plans to continue rotating members of the powerful Budget Committee on an annual basis. Reappointed to the seven-member committee Monday were commissioners Jowers, Allen Nohsey, Ralph Puckett, Jerry Grady and Sam Sinclair Jr.
During McGuire’s recommendations for committee appointments, Hensley declined an appointment to the Courthouse Committee, saying he plans to formally resign from all his committee assignments at the commission’s March meeting.
In other action Tuesday, the commission:
• Reappointed Marla Crabtree, Mike Sanders and Ned Bigelow to the Agricultural Committee and appointed commissioner Kenneth Cheatham to replace commissioner Paul Albright.
• Reappointed commissioners Tim Doyle, Terry Dwyer and Terry Roberts to the Courthouse Committee and appointed Andy Crocker, Jowers and Jim Bondurant to the committee. The vacancy created by Hensley’s turning down his appointment will be dealt with at the commission’s March session. With McGuire’s recommendations to the committee, each of the county’s seven commissioner districts is represented on the committee.
• Reappointed Allen Nohsey as county historian; appointed Sonny Yarbrough to the Civil Service Board; reappointed Genie Ullrich and Marti Doss to the Obion County Museum Board and appointed Alice Fennell to replace Tracey Batey on that board; reappointed Mike Cary to the Health and Safety Standards Board; and reappointed Bob Nichols as county surveyor.
• Approved a $5,334 amendment to the General Purpose School Fund; approved one $80,000 amendment to the General Fund, an $80,000 amendment to the Solid Waste Fund and a $1,784.45 amendment to the General Fund, all three of which were recommended by Jowers. He also had approved a recommendation to close the Pauper Cemetery Reserve Fund.
• Approved a surety bond for local highway department worker Mary Sue Chilcutt. It was announced at Tuesday’s meeting it was the 32nd renewal of her surety bond.
• Approved a list of Notary Public applications presented by County Clerk Vollie Boehms. The list included Becky Brown, Bonita Brunswick, Gena Burden, Alex Gamman, Steven McCullough and Vickie Stover.
• Endorsed a resolution from Rutherford County that encourages the state Legislature to make the manufacture, distribution and sale of synthetic drugs in the state (specifically bath salts and synthetic marijuana) a felony offense. The offense is currently a misdemeanor.
Chief Deputy Kent Treece, with the Obion County Sheriff’s Department, attended Tuesday’s meeting and announced the resolution is endorsed by the local sheriff’s department and by the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association.
“These drugs are becoming more and more prevalent throughout the state,” Treece said. “It’s horrendous what they’re doing to their (users’) bodies.”
Treece said although “We haven’t had a large problem with it in Obion County” there has been one arrest made and one convenience store was approached about carrying synthetic marijuana and the store did turn over the product to law enforcement officials. The synthetic drugs are not detectable by standard drug screens, according to Treece, who said the new synethic drugs are very dangerous. Published in The Messenger 1.18.12

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