Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Glade Sun

April 3, 2014

Understanding our county government

CROSSVILLE — To all of our warm weather travelers: Welcome back to beautiful Fairfield Glade. And to those of you who have enjoyed our own typically divergent weather patterns in wonderful Tennessee over the past few months: Spring is here, golf is nearly back in full swing, and it's time to start planning ahead. 

Following all of the ins and outs of our government can be a difficult task, but knowing what Cumberland County's committees stand for, how they help us, and how we can participate and voice our opinions in these matters can lead us to a stronger government. That is why I have tried to explain how the various committees work through a series of articles over the past few months.

My last article centered around two of our committees, the emergency services committee and the building and grounds committee. This week, I will continue to explain the duties of some of the other committees or departments that keep our government running smoothly.

First and foremost, I want everyone to know that  all committee meetings are open to the public, as written in our by-laws. Even though guests and non-committee members cannot vote on matters before the committee, they can voice their opinions after being recognized by the committee chairman. It is important for all of us to become involved in our government's workings.

This week, I will address committees that are important in the management of the money the county receives each year, the first of which is the audit committee. This committee was established in April of 2011. Their task is to carefully review all findings from the county’s annual audit report prepared by the state of Tennessee. The committee's responsibility is to make sure appropriate and timely corrective action has been taken by management to remedy any weaknesses found in the audit. After this has been done, the committee presents it findings to the full county commission.  In the past few years, a few corrections have been required. Most were easily corrected and another is now being dealt with legally.  Overall, we have proven that the tax money of our residents is being monitored and spent correctly and responsibly.

The duties of the investment committee include establishing and approving policies and procedures for cash management. They also have the authority to invest idle county funds in various concerns as prescribed by law, making sure that the county receives the best return for the funds invested. This committee consists of the trustee, county mayor and four commissioners. The committee also brings recommendations to the county commission when necessary.

Next is the financial management committee. This committee consists of the county mayor, road superintendent, director of schools and four members elected by the commission who may or may not be members of the commission. A chair person is elected by the members of the commission and the finance director serves as the secretary of the committee.  This committee establishes and approves policies, procedures and regulations for implementing a sound and efficient financial system for the administering the funds of the county.

We need to include the delinquent tax committee who has the responsibility of disposing of, according to the law, all properties acquired by the county at tax sales. Being able to collect property tax from all county properties helps keep our county running smoothly.

All of the above committees are an integral part of the finance department, which is the watchdog of the county’s purse strings. Our finance department takes care of the reports and requests from the above committees. In addition, it is responsible to purchase all of the necessary items needed to properly keep the county running, whether it is office supplies or maintenance items for the people who take care of our buildings and grounds. Other responsibilities also include larger issues such as obtaining quotes for capital improvements. They must make sure the projects  are completed properly and within the given time. The finance department is also responsible to pay and keep records of approximately 1,500 employees, both school employees and county  employees on a weekly or biweekly basis.

As you can see, the money received by the county each year from all sources is administered by many different committees or departments to ensure the proper management of the an estimated $89 million that goes into our coffers annually. 

My next article will explain the county board of equalization, the health and safety standards board and the county agricultural extension committee for which I am a commission advisor.

If you have any questions or comments please contact me either at 267—5112 or

9thdistrictffg@comcast.net.

Thank you for your time and interest in our community and county.

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