Thursday, December 15, 2011

Duncan takes credit for Carter, raises

In his never-ending quest to collect and deposit every check the county has, Knox County Trustee John “Triple 3” Duncan has outdone himself.

Cause now he is taking credit for the administration's plan to build the Carter community a new elementary school and give employees raises beginning on Jan. 1.

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, who spearheaded both moves, called the Carter claim “ridiculous”. Then he chuckled in disbelief.

Here's the deal and how all this started:

Earlier this month, Duncan posted the following on Facebook:
"I'm so proud of the work of my staff! We have operated at 49% under last year's budget, yet revenues are at an all time high. I was pleased to hear State Officials remark that the Knox County Trustee's Office is the model for all others in the State to follow."
Now, I'm reading this and scratching my head. Cause this sounds a little misleading. (The 49 percent part – I just figure his aunt is the “state officials” he refers to. Heh.)

So, I sent him an email, asking what's up.

Here's his response:
Last year, the office had spent $235,744 in operating costs at this point. This year, we have spent $121,151.

For the whole year, we are now working with a $272,354 budget, as opposed to $387,735 last year.

We're trying to run everything as lean as possible and have tried to cut everything from contracted services to supplies and materials. So far, we've been very successful.

Despite the cuts, collections are higher than they've ever been. Last year, we set a new record for revenues, which allowed the Mayor and Commission to give employee raises and build Carter a new elementary school. This year, we have outpaced that number by over $1.8 million at this point.
Couple things here. Apparently, the salary suit the Trustee Office files each year – you know that lawsuit that is the budget for salaries – doesn't count as a “budget” budget. So, yes, I suppose the Trustee's Office is operating “at 49 percent under last year's budget” if all you're talking about is the money used to buy office supplies. Because that's pretty much the budget Duncan refers to.

The salaries are something else.

The other thing: You'll note the trustee says his office “set a new record for revenues” that “allowed” the county to build the Carter community a new elementary school.

Uh, that's not exactly how some other folks who work over there in the Deathstar see it.

The county could have collected $5 this year, and it was still going to build a new school.

As it stands, the administration has designated $11 million of the $13.9 million it needs to build the school.

Here's how county is paying for the new school (information courtesy of the finance department):
  • School Board contribution: $2.5 million
  • E-911 District early repayment for the center facility: $3.4 million
  • Solway land sale: $2 million
  • City repayment for Young-Williams Animal Center: $943,819
  • SEC settlement: $892,551
  • Marble Alley – initial four parcels: $771,000
  • Bond refinancing 2011-12 – county's share of savings: $511,685
The bill comes due in late spring 2013.

As for whether Duncan played a role in county employee raises? He could make a case for that. So, too, could the economy. And Burchett. And all the people who paid their bills on time.

1 comment:

Little Bird said...

Watching certain people take credit for the Carter school would be comical if it wasn't such an insult to the true heroes (elected officials like Tim Burchett, Dave Wright and Mike McMillan) that refused to give in.