Friday, December 31, 2010

Audit Committee [?]

As the Budget Committee meeting I have discussed draws closer, one thing that continues to come to the forefront of my mind is the entire premise and agenda for this meeting.

It is what I have discussed before, the premise that the solution will have nothing to do with analyzing our budget expenditures. The solution will be a determination with whether we will re-structure our debt and/or raise our taxes.

By most principals involved, we are being told that we must do one of the two, or both. We are told there are no other options.

Yet, no one has explained to me, and I have not heard why we cannot even look into other options.

Well, coincidentally, I came across this post by TCCA Executive Director David Connor on commission a memorandum received on "Audit Committees" for local governments. This post is interesting in its entirety and I would encourage you to check it out. I have also pulled the Tennessee statute is referenced for my own review (if you would like a copy of the text, e-mail me).

I am very interested in this form/type of committee. Here's why: This seems to address the very concerns that I referenced in my opening paragraphs – fiscal responsibility. This issue was one I ran on and it is one I heard time and time again in my walks through District 10. Many of my fellow commissioners have expressed the same that they have heard from their own districts. An "Audit committee" could
conceivably address the very items brought to my attention during my door-knocking throughout District 10: fiscal responsibility - "transparency" and "accountability."

Here is what jumped out to me from the Tennessee statute:
(b) The governing body of the local government shall create the audit committee. The audit committee members shall be external to management and may be members of the governing body, citizens from within the boundaries of the local government, or a combination of both. Members of the audit committee shall be selected by the legislative body. The audit committee shall establish responsibilities and duties that are stated in a resolution approved by the legislative body. The responsibilities and duties, at a minimum, shall address financial and other reporting practices, internal control, compliance with laws and regulations, and ethics. The resolution creating the duties and responsibilities of the audit committee shall be submitted to the comptroller prior to approval by the legislative body. The comptroller shall review the proposed resolution and report back to the local government on whether the resolution follows recommended guidelines for an audit committee. The resolution adopted by the legislative body must conform to the report issued by the comptroller. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 9-3-405(b) (emphasis added)
And, there it is, I think that would be the most effective way to be "transparent" and "accountable," instead of the status quo of telling you the way it is, and the way it will be. This General Assembly encourages local leaders to defer and cooperate with "citizens from within the boundaries" by encouraging them to be a part of the process.

Instead of just going back to the same modes and means that got the County into this fiscal position, it is time to think of other modes and means. An "audit committee" may be part of the solution, and it may not be the solution. It is just a different an idea. I just know that the same old solutions applied to the same old problems is what I got the County in this position in the first place.

Maybe it is time to think of other options like this instead of running first to re-structure and tax increases.
It is what you, the "citizens from within the boundaries," do with your own family budgets.
It may be worth looking into this year, this new year, since it is a new idea. For as the memorandum goes on to state:
We believe well structured audit committees can improve the financial management and overall governance of governmental entities in Tennessee. Our office (County Audit) has encouraged the establishment of an audit committee in local governments for many years. However, very few local governments have an effective audit committee. We believe in today's environment of fewer resources and increased demand for transparency and accountability, it is time to focus on the audit committee as an effective tool to improve the operations of local governments.
Maybe this new idea is ripe for this County? If not this, then there should be others out there…

The Week of January 3, 2011

Here are some of the Committees and/or Events that I will be apart of this coming week.
Below, I attach the schedule for the Robertson County Commission.

(And, yes, I almost forgot to change the year from 2010, to 2011!)

January 3 - 7, 2011
Date & Committee/Board            Time                        Location
Monday – January 3
Nominating                                      4:00 P.M.                 County Mayor's Office
Building and Grounds                       5:00 P.M.                 County Office Building

Tuesday - January 4
911 Board                                       9:00 A.M.                911 Office

Wednesday - January 5
Foster Care Review Board              9:00 A.M.                General Sessions

Thursday - January 6
Animal Control                                6:00 P.M.                County Mayor's Office
Planning & Zoning                           7:00 P.M.                County Office Building

Friday - January 7

Meetings of Import: RCC Budget Committee Meeting

I received a Memo from our Finance Director, Jody Stewart about the upcoming RCC Budget Committee Meeting. This was the meeting that was discussed at the December Meeting I referenced here.
This should prove to be most informative, and as it is a crucial juncture for the County, I hope that each of you can find time to attend.
Here is the Memo:
Tom McAnulty will present the debt options for Robertson County during the Budget Committee meeting on January 13, 2011 at 6:00 PM in the Juvenile Court Room.
All Robertson County Commissioners are urged to attend this informative meeting.
Remember, our Financial Advisor is presenting the RCC options so far as debt re-structuring is concerned. This has nothing to do with any proposed audits, cuts or re-structuring of spending…as I have said before, this does not address our own spending, and immediately addresses whether, and to what extent we should re-structure our debt and/or raise taxes since we are deficit spending.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

On My Mind II

This piece was one that I alluded in "On My Mind." A resident of RC and reader of FTB passed this piece along to me in follow-up to the RCC Regular Meeting last week.

This piece does a very good job of breaking down the national concern over municipal bonds.

Though, as I have said, RC is not in immediate crisis mode, we are deficit spending at this time. The RCC has been told by our own Financial Advisor that there "is no other way" but to raise taxes or re-structure debt.

I continue to discuss these matters for they are obviously concerns that the citizens of Robertson County have….I am hearing about them weekly, if not daily.

As well, what directly concerns us is the fallout if others do default….

On My Mind

From one source or another, I have come across several stories sharing this same message:

Check out this video.

It may just be that this has been on my mind as the RCC moves forward to January 13, 2011 in considering what direction we may be taking related to finances.

In this video, I am not so much focusing on politics or the governor for it is not a matter of casting blame on who got us where as much as it is fixing what is broken….

This story namely focuses on state government, but if you hang around until 11:30/12:00 mark of the video, there is a healthy discussion of what these issues mean for local governments since these governments, in turn, rely on the state governments for significant portions of their budget.

Robertson County does.

But, make no mistake, I do not want this story to sound as though Robertson County is is on the verge of economic collapse, and we are going to be in default in some way…..but, we must shift course from the analysis and decisions made in the past.

Though, Robertson County is deficit spending, and we have been told that there is no other option but to re-structure our debt, and/or raise our taxes…..

Friday, December 24, 2010

Montgomery County: Unemployment Figures

The Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle takes a look at local employment/unemployment figures like we did a few days ago.

In taking a peek around to our neighbors, it looks like all our neighbors are backsliding so far as unemployment figures goes over the last couple of months.

Here is a breakdown of the surrounding counties that the article cites:
[Stewart County with 11.4 percent unemployment, up from 10 percent the previous month;
and 10 percent for the two neighboring Kentucky counties of Christian and Trigg — actually down 0.1 percentage point from the month before;
Houston County has 10.5 percent unemployment, up 0.4 from October;
Dickson County is at 9.9 percent, up 0.5;
Cheatham County's rate is 9.1, up 0.5;
Robertson County is at 8.5, also up 0.5.]

It would look as though that Clarksville's slide comes from a direct source or two, which has me somewhat curious regarding where our slide is coming from.

I know of no recent rounds of layoffs or cutbacks from any of our local, larger employers.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Sense for the Census II

A story I came across in passing that speaks on the Census, and what it means for Tennessee. Just following up from this post.

Apparently, not much for our congressional delegation.

Mayor, and now: Chairman

Great to see Mayor Bradley recognized for leadership within and outside the County:
Nashville, Tenn.—Centerstone, a not-for-profit organization providing a wide range of mental health and addiction services, today announced Mayor Howard Bradley of Robertson County has been elected as the new chair of the organization's Advisory Board of Trustees.
Comprised of county mayors throughout Tennessee, the Advisory Board of Trustees advises Centerstone on local issues and concerns, offers recommendations and assists in solutions. Members collaborate on identifying new programs and initiatives relevant to their counties and work to enhance community support for behavioral health issues.
"Our Advisory Board of Trustees is critical in maintaining open and productive two-way communication between Centerstone and the communities we serve," said Bob Vero, Ed.D., CEO of Centerstone of Tennessee. "We are confident that Mayor Bradley, who has been one of our strongest advocates, will provide the insight and guidance necessary for us to better fulfill our mission and help Tennesseans with mental health and addiction disorders lead healthy, full and productive lives."
Mayor Bradley, an Advisory Board of Trustees member since 2002, will replace Mayor Bill Orange of Cheatham County, who has served as chair since 2006.

CONFIRMED: The Logo for the Highland Crest College Campus

To follow-up from "My Minutes" posted earlier today.

I heard Springfield Mayor Billy Paul Carneal in a conversation on "Page 2" this morning on WDBL confirm that the Board of Mayor and Alderman voted to confirm the same logo on Tuesday evening that the RCC voted to approve on Monday evening.

Bottom line: (as many of you have asked to see) Here is the new logo for the Highland Crest College Campus.

Again, many thanks to Tom Trapp of Bear Brook (Bear Brook's website can be found here) for the donated hours in collaborating, designing and meeting to produce this logo.

(On a personal note, I know Tom from our days in Leadership Robertson County, and he has a very interesting personal story of recently
hailing from Cedar Hill, Tennessee / A tremendous asset for our community and if you see Tom please thank him for his service)

My Minutes: Special Called Meeting of the RC School Board (RC Education Committee) 2010.12.20

The RC School Board's Special Called Meeting will prove to be the beginning of a discussion on several issues:

The bid was announced for the Alternative School project at the recently purchased Water Bonnet property. As well, an architect was chosen for the re-design and re-location of the Central Office.

The immediate bottom-line is that the GUARANTEED MAXIMUM PRICE for the Alternative School now stands at roughly $1,500,000.00. I know that many of you will immediately recall that this is a greater number than that which was bantered about just a couple of months ago when the Water Bonnet property purchase occurred.

Well, what coincides with this increase is the School Board's decision to escalate the timetable for the relocation of the Central Office to the Water Bonnet property.

I do not know exactly how long this has been discussed, but it does not come as such a surprise, because some of the thought with the federal grants received that made the Alternative School that much easier to digest may be used to assist getting the Water Bonnet property "ready" for consolidation of offices from around the County.

I think what will be a surprise to many of you is the timetable. This was the first the RC Education Committee had heard of this effort, as well.

As an Education Committee, we will have firm numbers before our January meeting that I hope to pass along.

My Minutes: Regular Robertson County Commission Meeting – 2010.12.20

My re-cap (and commentary) from the Regular Meeting from Monday, December 20, 2010.

"My" Agenda –
Earlier this past week I shared with you the agenda, our Commissioners Packet. Immediately below were the matters I had my eye on for the meeting.

I was particularly interested to see the direction the RCC would take with Mass Transit project / Relax-and-Ride Program. In discussions with Commissioners before the vote, it appeared that there would be some moderate, if not significant opposition to the vote based upon the sectarian nature that still permeates the mindsets of many leaders throughout the County.

I was enthused to see to the results for, and the approval of the logo for the Robertson County-Springfield Learning Center.

I was pleased with the direction taken on the issue of the proposed part-time Maintenance Department employee. Though, I was that much more pleased by the arguments and discussion had during the consideration of this resolution.

Senator Ferrell Haille –
Senator Ferrell Haille introduced himself to Robertson County, and the RCC. He was gracious for the opportunity to serve through March, and pledged his commitment to fulfill the same standard set by Senator Black. He will retain her office number in Nashville throughout his term, and will be happy to field inquiries from Robertson County.

Election(s) Funding –
On that note, the RCC took up a resolution for funding the special elections both for the primary as well as the general election for this very seat. Interestingly enough, the elections will cost Robertson County approximately $70,000.00. Though, the State of Tennessee will be reimbursing the County for ALL these expenditures since it is a special election.


Planning Commission –
Alright, if you perused the December Commission Packet, you may have even trudged through the resolutions proffered by the Planning Commission.
These resolutions passed.

The one I would like to center in on for discussion was the "small animal boarding resolution."
From what I have learned, it is my understanding that this was derivative of an issue that first arose a few years back over a project for an animal shelter. It is further my understanding that this was a very heated topic in its day, and this was confirmed by a fellow commissioner who pointed out that several of her constituents were present at the meeting in order to see firsthand the direction of the discussion, and the vote. Obviously, this was an issue of special interest.

With that said, the specifics of what we were considering had to do with an effort to prevent this from being a reality faced by citizens of the County should a neighbor decide to erect such a structure or if some third-party entity decide to relocate. What I mean by this is that the regulations would now thwart the ability of a property owner to move forward with such a project without first complying with the specifics set forth by this resolution. Owners of residential and agricultural zones are now limited in their ability to construct such "small animal boarding shelters" on their property. As it stood before Monday's meeting, owners virtually had unfettered ability to just that.
Now, this resolution would do much to thwart such an effort from occurring, and assures fellow property owners and neighbors any neighboring property owners that this would not be allowed.

Part-Time Employee in Maintenance Department -
The creation of this part-time position was sought in last year's budget. It was turned down by the previous Commission.

This position was requested shortly after the new Commission was sworn-in.

After being withdrawn last month, it was back on the agenda.

Monday, it was voted down.

I was pleased that it was voted down. And, I will quickly state that this should by no means be construed as disparaging anyone in the Maintenance Department, Joe Fort or any one person having to do with the Maintenance Department.

For me, it comes down to what means we have as a County, and adding employees is not how I would prefer to begin such a discussion. Commissioner Gregory articulated this point well in her argument (which I will paraphrase) in which she set out that hiring is not appropriate when the County cannot even adequately consider raises for County employees.

As we move into a crucial time for considering our finances, I am very encouraged that the Commission is considering matters in this way. Fiscal Responsibility was and is the most prevalent issue on the minds of the citizens of Robertson County. Going into the January 13, 2011 meeting in which we will consider the direction of our budget, this is the type of analysis that the citizens asked for back in August.

Logo –
If you had a chance to look through the December Commission packet, I am sure that you have come across the logo for the Highland Crest College

All voted YEA for the logo, and I personally like it.

Some folks that were in on the decision making process that narrowed the search down to a few for our consideration expressed that they had other logos that they preferred, but I have not heard a one say that they just do not flat out like it, they just prefer other designs.

Regardless, many, many thanks to Tom Trapp for the hours and scores of designs put forth for consideration.

Relax-and-Ride / Mass Transit –
I have probably discussed this to a greater extent over the past few weeks, so I want take up too much of your time regarding he merits.

My thoughts are fairly well-developed on this issue.

I will say that this, though, and it speaks on a higher level than just this project. In the discussions with other commissioners on this issue, it became a concern with me that this issue may end up falling on the wayside due to sectionalism of the County leadership. Meaning, that many of the Commissioners I spoke with were looking at it that "this project does not come through my district" or "why aren't the routes rolling through our area?" I am not going to be a half-full-glass on this, since the vote overwhelmingly came through for this project, but the mindset of sectionalism is still an ever-present concern.

Overall, I thought this was a very productive way to end the year. There were several other issues discussed, and if I have not covered those, and you have questions, concerns or comments on those then please let me know.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Sense for the Census

I came across this story today regarding the census results, and this story particularly skims through the analysis of the results. The story mainly discusses what this means across the country from state-to-state.

I have not seen many stories trickling out that discuss matters at the Tennessee level, much less on our County level.

But, as these numbers become a little more concrete, the RCC will begin its own analysis and consideration.
This was not an issue that was discussed by many folks as I knocked on doors throughout District 10. As memory serves, I do not even think the issue came up at any of the forums or events, either. Yet, it is one that will affect us all at a County level.

The census comes at a very opportune time for Robertson County in that it will give us that much more perspective on the allocation of our resources as we evaluate the needs that come from the growth we are experiencing now, and that which we expect to see in the years ahead.

TCCA Executive Director David Connor shares a link that I found useful, and you may as well.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I came across this article from the Hendersonville Star-News. It looks like our Sumner County neighbors are considering and implementing the same/similar type of project we are considering here in Robertson County on Monday night (at the RCC Regular Meeting of December 20, 2010).

I have discussed mass transit as relates to Robertson County here, here and here.

The Week of December 20, 2010

Here are the meetings, events and happenings for the second-to-the-last week of 2010.

As you will see below, this week will prove to be a busy week for the County.

Just in case you have not had the oppurtunity to see the agenda/Commission Packet for Monday's Regular Meeting, here is my post from earlier this week.

This notice has been posted for some time, but I thought I would pass along to the each of you:
The Robertson County Board of Education will hold a Special Called Meeting on Monday, December 20, 200 at 5:30p.m. The purpose of this meeting will be to discuss and possibly act on the Guaranteed Maximum Price for the construction/remodeling of a potion of the Water Bonnet building for the required Alternative School. And, to discuss and possibly act on the selection of an architect for the planning and design of a Central Office facility also located in the Water Bonnet property. The meeting will be held in the Board room of the Central Office located at 2121 Woodland St.

The RCC Education Committee will meet following this Special Called Meeting.


Date & Committee/Board Time Location

Monday - December 20
Special Meeting: School Board                                     5:30 P.M. Central Office

Nominating                                                                   6:30 P.M. Juvenile Courtroom

County Commission                                                      7:00 P.M. Juvenile Courtroom

Tuesday - December 21

911 Board                                                                    9:00 A.M. 911 Office

Health and Safety                                                         5:30 P.M. Finance Office

Wednesday - December 22

Safety                                                                          8:30 A.M. County Mayor's Office

Highway Commission                                                  10:00 A.M. Highway Offices

Thursday - December 23

HOLIDAY - Offices Closed

Friday - December 24

HOLIDAY - Offices Closed

Saturday, December 18, 2010

18th District State Senate Race

A few weeks ago, I posted an update "OUR New Senator." I thought I would follow-up on this with a post this week.

I have been slow (could be this season we are in!) in posting the announcement of Kerry Roberts, of Robertson County, who will be seeking Congressman Diane Black's old senate seat, the 18th District State Senate seat (encompassing Robertson and Sumner counties).

Since Kerry hails from Robertson County, I thought I would pass this story from the Robertson County Times along.
"I was approached by many after losing to Diane, asking if I'd run for her seat if she won the Congressional race," said Roberts. "My answer then was that I needed time to focus on my family and business before making that decision. After much thought and discussion, I'm now ready to say 'yes' to this opportunity and challenge."
With a background as a certified public accountant, business owner, and small farmer, Roberts says his strong fiscal and social conservatism are both needed commodities in today's blend of politics and economics.
See more of Kerry's thoughts here. Also, his website is here.

Without delving into the politics of this race, and/or the merits of one candidate over the next, my concerns will be who will best represent Robertson County.

I would love to see more from the candidates hailing from Sumner County.

Shopping Local: Why? / Next Year!

Marcus Washington, of NewsChannel5, covered Robertson County this past week with a story on the importance of shopping locally:

Succinctly, because it benefits the community in which YOU live.

It is almost a companion story to the piece Jim Bellis had in the Robertson County Times earlier this week.

Anecdotally, this piece asks local leaders and businesses what their thoughts are of the economic outlook for 2011. "Cautious optimism" seems to be the theme here in Robertson County.

As relates to both stories, it so good to see Robertson County in the news in positive ways.

On a side note, whenever I see Springfield's downtown/courthouse square on the news, it always goes to show me how fortunate we are to have such a proactive group of downtown merchants, businesses and professionals who have worked so hard to maintain and preserve such a vibrant and beautiful square. Time and again, when I see other communities on/in the news, we shine that much more.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tennessee Economic Outlook

David Connor, Executive Director of the Tennessee County Commissioner's Association, shares an update on the outlook for our state economy.

Succinct, but informative read.

Of course, this effects our budget....

Thursday, December 16, 2010

December Commission Packet

I would like to pass along a link that you may want to bookmark for future reference.

Each month, the week before the RCC meeting, our Robertson County Clerk, Susan Atchley, has begun posting the meeting agenda on the Robertson County website.

Scroll down and look on the right sidebar for the "Commission Packet."

It is her effort to "go green," but from my perspective, it is a fantastic opportunity for everyone in Robertson County to see the agenda before the meeting.

Looking ahead, here is the agenda:

1.     Certain Changes to the Official Maintenance Road List and Map (Annexations
of Various Cities)
2.     Making Changes to the Official Maintenance Road List and Map
3.     Adopting the Official Maintenance Road List
4.     Amending Budget for Year Ending June 30, 2011(Maintenance Dept.)
5.     Changing Name of Industrial Development Board
6.     Highland Crest College Campus Logo
7.     Amending Budget for Year Ending June 30, 2011 (Misc.)
8.     Amending Budget for Year Ending June 30, 2011 (Schools)
9.     Amending Budget for Year Ending June 30, 2011 (Election)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Week of December 13, 2010

Here are some of the Committees and/or Events that I will be apart of this week. Below, I attach the schedule for the Robertson County Commission.

Relax and Ride -
On Monday, December 13, 2010 at 10am a "Relax and Ride" bus will be on display at 104 7th Avenue West (Springfield, Tennessee – right next to the current Alternative School) to generate interest and prpvide an example of the buses to be used in the program I have discussed in previous posts (here, here & here).

Alternative School Project -
On Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 2pm, the "Bid Opening" for the Alternative School project will happen at Bell & Associates Construction, L.P. at their offices in Brentwood, Tennessee.
Recall that this project is the one in which the "Water Bonnet Property"/Acme Boot Plant will be re-modeled and re-furbished. As described:
…[t]he project consists of the demolition and build-out of a new Alternative School located in an existing building at 800 Water Bonnet Blvd. The scope of work includes a complete interior build-out including drywall, interior finishes, flooring, mechanical/electrical, millwork, plumbing and fire protection.
Education Committee / School Board –
The RCC Education Committee meets on Monday, December 13, 2010 at 6pm, and the RC School Board will meet at 7pm.

RCC Schedule –
December 13 - 17, 2010
Date & Committee/Board Time Location
Monday - December 13
EMS 5:00 P.M. EMS Building
Education Committee 6:00 P.M. Central Office
School Board 7:00 P.M. Central Office
Tuesday - December 14
Joint Meeting:
Law Enforcement & 5:00 P.M. Sheriff's Office
Workhouse Board
Solid Waste 6:00 P.M. County Office Building
Wednesday - December 15
Thursday - December 16
Finance 1:30 P.M. Finance Office
Friday - December 17

My Minutes: Gorham-MacBane Public Library Board (2010.12.7)

I wanted to follow-up with you regarding the Library Board meeting I had informed you of earlier this week.
This meeting was called by the Chairperson Cindy Sneed as a follow-up from the request that the County Commission fund the project. I had discussed this in a previous post.

There had been several informal meetings amongst members of the Library Board and the Board's Capital Campaign Committee since the RCC considered the funding request several weeks ago. Yet, this was the first Library Board meeting since that time, and thus my first opportunity to sit down with them as a member of the Library Board.

The LB heard from David Brown, a representative of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones, Morris Architects, Inc. in order to hear what the "next step" would be for the design process of the Library Expansion Project.

Thus, this presentation being called with the purposes as to how the project is to move forward.

"Bid Ready" -
Succinctly, the next stage would be getting "bid ready" plans together which would allow for a better realization as to how much this project will cost. (Recall: the plans as proposed were not complete enough to determine a realistic figure and they were some 2-3 years old)

Part & Parcel -
Further, these plans will take the project part and parcel. Meaning that that the several areas of expansion will be separated into individual groups. What this will do will allow for certain part and parcels to be determined needed, wanted and the like. It will allow for the project to be assessed in whole or part. I thought that this was crucial because I did not want these poor economic times in which we live to dictate what we wanted to do when the economy picks up.

Mr. Brown said this phase would take approximately 2-3 months in order to put together these plans. It was generally understood that when these plans were put together that a presentation would be coordinated setting out the consultant's recommendations for these plans, a formal presentation of the plans as well as a joint-meeting of the City of Springfield and Robertson County.

My Minutes: Budget Committee (2010.12.9)

A brief, but important meeting this past Thursday, December 9, 2011. Though I am not on the Budget Committee, I consider this committee worth attending since it obviously trickles down in its influence.

Final Advisor's Proposal -

It appears that the citizens of Robertson County should mark their calendars for January 13, 2011. I pass this along because this will be the day in which the County's Financial Advisor will share with the RCC the plan addressing the budgeted shortfall, and what he proposes the RCC do in order to address the budgeted shortfall.

Details of this anticipated meeting were sparse, and lacking in details, but it appears that some of the principals involved are anticipating that this means the RCC should consider a property tax increase. Needless to say, I find this disconcerting.

(Candidly, I feel that the progression of the discussion is misplaced. Meaning: the progression started with discussion of a tax increase, a re-structuring of our current debt….and lastly, the potential for discussions of cutting costs and spending. My position is that such discussions should be inverted.) But, I digress…
Remember, I would encourage any and all to attend the meeting of January 13, 2011.

Federal Education Grant –
The RC School Board requested an amendment to their annual budget due to their receipt of a grant from the federal government.

The amount was $72,000.00. Details were somewhat sparse in that there was no one from the School Board there in attendance, and Jody Stewart conveyed the information along to the Budget Committee.

I will be curious to see some of the details on this item since it would appear that the School Board is not returning $72,000.00 and that this grant represents an additional $72,000.00 that they are receiving from the federal government.

Mass Transit –
The proposal I have previously discussed in a post (here & here) was on the table for discussion. It was approved.

Interestingly enough, apparently there was a credit/refund from the County's worker's compensation insurance premium that will allow this to be funded without additional expenditure from the budget.

UPDATE: Highland Crest College

Here is an update from my post last week on the Highland Crest College (Robertson County-Springfield Learning Center).
In the Robertson County Times, Margot Fosnes (Executive Director, Robertson County Chamber of Commerce) discusses some of the particulars from the visit, and what is in store in days, weeks and months ahead:
Volunteer State will take the lead role in operating the new learning center with an on-site director, faculty and staff. Vol State classes will include general education requirement courses that apply to most of the degree and program options at the College. Austin Peay will provide upper level courses in areas of study identified to have appeal in the community. A number of specific academic programs are under consideration for Highland Crest and course offerings will begin to take shape in the spring.
Two full-time administrative staff will be employed by Volunteer State, an on-site director and an administrative assistant. Volunteer State hopes to have both of these positions filled by late winter in order to have representatives in the community, spreading the word about the opportunities that will be available in the fall.
One more thing that Margot said that I will definitely echo:
For those who visited the construction site last week, the level of enthusiasm and excitement about the future of higher education in Robertson County was high.
Highland Crest College Campus is obviously going to be a source of pride for our community and a visible symbol of our community's investment in its future.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Meetings of Import: Library Board & Budget Committee

I received an e-mail just the other morning that the Library Board will be meeting on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 5:00pm.

(Recall that I am a member of the Library Board as apart of my committee assignments with the RCC)
The agenda will include discussion on which way for the Board to proceed in seeking funding for the library expansion project. I will keep you posted as to the direction the Board is choosing to go.

The Budget Committee is also meeting this week, on Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 4:30pm.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Robertson County-Springfield Learning Center “Walk-Thru / Construction Progress Update”

Yesterday, you may have seen my updates regarding the "Walk-Thru / Construction Update" at the Robertson County-Springfield Learning Center. If you did not have that opportunity, here are some of the photographs I was able to take yesterday afternoon. Also, I have posted these to my Facebook account.

Exterior construction will be imminently completed, and what that means is that workers will be able to concentrate on the interior. Obviously, this is particularly important since we have entered the winter months. This should keep the project on track with completion and readiness for Fall 2011.
I do not know if the pictures accurately portray, but what struck me is the magnitude of this project.
I drive by this structure each and every day on my way to and from work, and I have been steadily keeping track of the progress. From Batson Boulevard, it is impressive. I am sure many of you have observed the same, or have heard of the same. Yet, when you drive up to, and walk up to, the magnitude of the project is fully appreciated. We truly have something to be proud of here in Robertson County.

Animal Control

The Animal Control Committee.

This is definitely a committee assignment that is discussed the least amongst businesses, professionals and others within my peer groups in Robertson County. Yet, this committee has generated the most consistent discussion amongst constituents and has proven to be one of the more time-intensive committees I am apart of on the RCC. Make no mistake, I am not complaining, but I just find this interesting.

Hey, what other committee assignment would I get to discuss African Wildcats?

Not surprisingly, as you can imagine, we generally oversee Robertson County Animal Control. As with anything in government, it is not as simple as discussion and generating a budget. We were immediately immersed in some areas that I will be discussing in the coming weeks since we have been asked to tackle the task of sorting, sifting and formulating a plan of action based upon the safety of Animal Control employees while weighing enforcement of ordinances and laws in Robertson County.

Monthly Meeting -

At our Thursday, December 2, 2010, we were presented an interesting opportunity by Donna Wilkins and a collaborative effort by the Robertson County Players. Mrs. Wilkins is pursuing an effort with the PetSmart Charities "Rescue Waggin'" effort. From their website:
Our Rescue Waggin' program is comprised of three parts:
A pet transport program: We relocate dogs and puppies from areas of high homeless-pet overpopulation (where they face almost certain euthanasia) to shelters in areas where adoptable dogs are in demand. This program operates under professionally-developed industry standards for originating and receiving shelters, spay/neuter and animal health practices and humane transport.
Capacity-building grants: This funding helps expand local spay and neuter services for dogs and cats and improve shelter facilities, operations and adoptions for agencies that send dogs and puppies on the transport vehicles.
Funding and professional consultation: This support helps improve shelter facilities and operations for participating animal-welfare agencies.
Our Animal Control struggles with finding a balance between meeting the needs in the community versus the need to foster adoptions of the animals. Meaning, far too many of our animals are euthanized.

This effort will help! Essentially, the effort is to private raise funds, labor and resources from the community to build additional kennels for this project since the requirements set forth would require animals eligible for this program to be set apart while being tended, and made ready for transport. What a tremendous opportunity we have here for this program, and it is such a great effort when private and public efforts work in a collaborative way.

If you would like to help, or would like to know more of this effort, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Educating on Education

On Monday, November 29, 2010, the RC School Board, the RCC – Education Committee & the Robertson County Education Initiative (REdi – through the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce) met in a collaborative meeting to essentially introduce the various entities to one another by putting faces with names; and to generally have a discussion of topics that the three entities share in interest: Education in Robertson County.
On a brief side note, many of you may know, but if you do not already, "REdi" is an effort spawned from the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce – Education Committee. It is headed by Director Danny Atchley. Here is a brief description from their Facebook Page (
Created by the Education Committee of the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce to form a unique partnership between the business community and local schools to challenge, support and improve local public education.
The Robertson Education Initiative strives to initiate and sustain an ongoing dialogue between business people and educators about workforce needs and the resources required to meet those needs. REdI seeks to achieve broad-based community support and investment in public education at all levels.
Some of the projects that REdi is a part of, or has generated:
Renaissance Program
Robertson County Teachers Mini Grants
L.I.F.E. ( Local Industry for Education)
Tennessee Scholars Program and Dinner
Youth Leadership Program
Pep Rally on the Square
Education Awards(Teachers and Students)
Education Surveys: Parents, Teachers, and Industry
I thought that this meeting was a success, and I was frankly energized by the discussion had between the various entities. Many of the topics that were discussed - you could probably guess since folks generally know the challenges that Robertson County Schools face in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. What I found energizing is not the discussion of the concerns, but the frankness, and the willingness of those that were there to be part and parcel of the solutions to these concerns. I think someone even opined my sentiment precisely in stating that he had a concerns before the meeting that "this would be just another committee that meets to discuss" but after hearing the discussion that he will look forward to the next. I will, too. I find that too many times that generally all folks are willing to do is point out the concerns without taking that next, crucial step. And, I am not just speaking of folks in general as much as I am speaking of business and governmental leaders.
Here are some of topics of import that we discussed:
  • Robertson County Schools are in the process of hiring a Public Relations Employee;
  • The perceptions/reputation of Robertson County Schools outside of Robertson County;
  • Springfield schools as the flagship of Robertson County;
  • "We are losing" & "How do we stop losing" folks to Davidson Academy and other private schools;
  • Businesspersons & Professionals who send their children to private schools and the lack of willingness of businesses to support Robertson County Schools.
I will definitely look forward to the next of these meetings, and will be looking forward to hearing from the each of you and your concerns that should be addressed. District 10 is unique in this effort since we encompass both Springfield, and of course, Robertson County.