TRAMMELL CALLS OUT CITIZEN AFTER COMMENTS AT PUBLIC HEARING ON FY17 BUDGET

June 13, 2016

Trammell headshot

Does Chairman Trammell call out people that speak in hopes of discouraging any public participation?

The first public hearing on the FY 17 budget was held this morning at 9:00AM.  After going through the consolidated worksheet for the budget line by line, he asked if there were any questions.  No commissioners responded.  Trammell immediately said the meeting was adjourned, despite a citizen sitting there waiting to comment.  Comm. Pennamon told him he didn’t ask for public comments, so grudgingly, Trammell allowed the one citizen attending to speak.  (See the entire comment below.)

The comments centered around increased spending and increased debt over the last 4 years by this BOC.  The below figures are from the actual audits for FY13, FY14, and FY15.

In FY13, which included 1/2 of the previous board and 1/2 of this board, the spending was $8,350,00 with another $330,700 transferred to the landfill.  Capital lease debt was $375,000.

 In FY14, this board spent $8,715,000 and capital lease debt became $968,200.

In FY15, this board actually spent $8,654,000.  Capital lease debt went to $1,159,124 and contract debt was $935,551.  Fund balance increased over $1,152,000 because $353,000 was taken from curbside. 

The new budget of $9,967,090 is $1,300,000 more than what was actually spent in FY15 and everyone got what they wanted then.

The 3% raises added to the budget were also commented on-“ The 3% raises you give will benefit those that are already making the most money. Your department heads—are they really doing a good job, enough to merit a 3% raise?  $50,000 (what most department heads make) x 3% is a $1500 raise.  Workers making $10 per hour get a $.30 per hour raise or about $600 a year.”

After the comment, Comm. Trammell said, “Several comments you made are just not so.  A good bit of what you said is not so.”  When questioned why, he said, “The department heads all get a raise from the State upon re-election.”  Unfortunately, Trammell in accusing the citizen of lying, got department heads (Public Works, Recreation, P&Z, EMS) mixed up with constitutional officers (Clerk of Courts, Tax Commissioner, Probate, Sheriff).  All constitutional officers are getting a 5% raise, mandated by the State.  Department heads are getting a 3% raise given by the BOC in the budget—which is exactly what was said during the citizen comments.

After the meeting, when Trammell was confronted about the 3%, he then said, “You keep talking about an increase in the millage; we’ve lowered the millage.”  With the response from the citizen, “I’ve never talked about the millage.  I’ve talked about lowering the budget.

Unfortunately, we don’t have video of all this, but it was recorded and can easily be put up as a recording. 

There will be another hearing this evening at 6:00PM.  Citizens are encouraged to attend tonight to voice their concerns about a higher budget and higher property taxes. Don’t let Comm. Trammell intimidate you!  

Here is the citizen comment from this morning:

PUBLIC COMMENT, 6/13/13 AT 9:00AM, FY 17 BUDGET HEARING

I wish I had a few minutes to go over some of the departments in detail; however, I know you are not interested in what anyone else has to say.  In fact, I doubt that most of you would even know what I was talking about since only the “bottom line” is what matters, not all that nickel & dime stuff within the departments.

Ever since this board has been elected, the one constant thing is the increase in the spending and the debt for Jasper County.  In FY13, which included 1/2 of the previous board and 1/2 of this board, the spending was $8,350,00 with another $330,700 transferred to the landfill.  Capital lease debt was $375,000.

 In FY14, this board spent $8,715,000 and capital lease debt became $968,200.

In FY15, this board actually spent $8,654,000.  Capital lease debt went to $1,159,124 and contract debt was $935,551.  Fund balance increase over $1,152,000 because you took $353,000 from curbside. 

Why is $9.9M needed this year based on these figures?

It seems obvious you have no intention of cutting any expenses, but continue to increase our taxes so your fund balance improves.  To what avail?  The roads are not better since you’ve been in office because you are afraid to make changes at the PWD.  You still don’t have a decent website that could easily be done by a technology class at the high school free of charge.  Code enforcement is non-existent.

You have continually increased the Sheriff’s budget and have delayed much of the debt on the new vehicles purchased out past 2022, leaving other boards and the taxpayers to continue funding this spending several years into the future.  (Following are budget figures as presented in advertised budgets.)

                                             2014                     2015                     2016                     2017

Sheriff $1,449,100 $1,867,895 $2,115,740 $2,164,008
Jail $716,200 $735,308 $772,468 $822,143
Courthouse Sec. $46,000 $49,027 $50,953 $54,660

Total                        $2,211,300             $2,652,230         $2,939,161        $3,040,811

The Sheriff says his men haven’t had a raise for 8 years.  How many of his employees have been there 8 years?  And remember, they never took furlough days while other employees did.  This is the same for all constitutional offices—no furlough days.

The 3% raises you give will benefit those that are already making the most money. Your department heads—are they really doing a good job, enough to merit a 3% raise?  What evaluation was done on the new P&Z director to merit a big raise to $50,000?  Mike Benton said “it was promised to him.”  Wow!  If you do a good job or not in this county, you get a raise anyway.

The new budget of $9,967,090 is $1,300,000 more than what was spent in FY15 and everyone got what they wanted then.  Why another big increase?  Why more spending?  Why is every want approved?  It seems this board doesn’t have the backbone to make cuts where they should be and to watch out for the taxpayers, the property owners, of Jasper County.

I continue to urge you to cut the FY 17 budget.

Mary Patrick

 

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

www.taxdogs.wordpress.com

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8 Responses to TRAMMELL CALLS OUT CITIZEN AFTER COMMENTS AT PUBLIC HEARING ON FY17 BUDGET

  1. We can all see through his lies says:

    On a social level Gene Trammell is a nice guy but you can never believe anything he tells you. He either makes stuff up or he lies without thinking you know any better. Maybe no one else has ever called him out about it before. It is unfortunate he represents Jasper County.

  2. It does not matter anyway says:

    It doesn’t matter if 500 people show up to talk about the budget or the millage rate. Nothing different is going to happen because they have already voted on it and they have already decided it
    and they could care less. It is just a waste of time to even email or even talk to the commissioners. They act like they listen to you but they have already got their own agenda going. Gene definitely has his own agenda going.

  3. Where Are Our Leaders says:

    Trammel and gang have drunk the kool-aid and thus have become to believe their own stupid propaganda. Unbridled public debt is FORWARD. Blind Investment in risky private industry is SMART GROWTH and allowing the county government to be co-opted by a clique of opportunistic bankers looking to serve only themselves is STATEGIC PLANNING.

    The BoC does not want to lead, they want to belong. Their desire to be part of the Jasper County power broker’s club, if even just as a lap dog, clearly supersedes their sworn duty to represent the interests of the citizens of the county at large. We do not have leaders in Jasper County government. We have YES men who cannot say no to the whiny wants of a myriad of special interests.

    What Jasper County needs are a few decent NO men not afraid to stand up against the specials interests of the public debt lobby that now control the purse strings of Jasper County government, but first we have to get though another charade of a budget process with the can’t shoot straight gang selling us out once again. God helps us all.

    “[Credit is a system whereby] a person who can’t pay, gets another person who can’t pay, to guarantee that he can pay.” ― Charles Dickens

    “Savers have to be punished so debtors can be saved.

    Why? Because if debtors are rescued, that makes it possible for more debts to be issued in the future.

    And why is that important? Because the banking system needs ever more loans in order to survive.”
    ― Chris Martenson

  4. Not Shocked says:

    Trammell is the rudest, most obnoxious, hateful and arrogant person in Jasper County. I hope the folks in district 3 will not be so blind as to elect him back on the BOC. I don’t know how he does it but I really don’t want to think those folks that vote for him are that ignorant. Come on people shake it off, wake up and stop him in November!! PLEASE!!!!!

    • Ignored Taxpayer says:

      Voter turnout in Jasper county is pathetic. Gene is counting on a low turnout. All he needs is to get fellow uninformed church members at his church to the polls and cast a vote for him. The people in his district need to be informed of this incompetent elected official and his minions. Then get off their rear ends and vote these people out.

  5. Not Again says:

    Thank you TWG for going to the meetings and making videos of these meetings.

    Mr. Gene “SWAG” Trammell basically called you a liar once again. Instead of saying, “I don’t believe xxx is correct. I will have to check on that” and actually checking, he just makes a sweeping statement. The fact that none of the other commissioners is any better informed is a frightening thought.

    If Mr. Trammell thinks that you are not correct, let him show proof or hold his tongue.

  6. Use your heads says:

    This certainly paints a picture of a board that does not have a good handle on finances. It is difficult to set a proper budget when an audit is delayed by 6 months. The FY15 audit was just presented a week ago, while the FY17 budget is already set.

    I wonder what the financial picture will look like when we get to see the FY16 audit. How much more debt was accumulated in this fiscal year? Just how much does all this financing cost the taxpayers in interest charges? I venture to say that the interest alone in 1 year could pay for a couple of police cars.

    Why is the BOC so gong-ho about financing? They collect more taxes than is needed.

    It would not make sense for me to get into debt just to bolster my savings account, just as it makes no sense for the county to get into debt just to bolster their fund balance.

  7. Busted says:

    While looking at the consolidated worksheet, I noticed that at the bottom of the proposed FY 2017 column it says “approved 5-23-16” and above the 16.446 millage rate is also says, “approved 5-23-16”. That puts to rest the question whether the budget and millage rate was approved on 5-23-16 or not.

    It further confirms my suspicion that the public hearings are only for show and to meet the legal obligation. No matter how many people request a budget and millage rate reduction, the budget is a fait accompli.

    As of this moment, the county has not published the recent audit on its website. I can only guess why they are remiss of doing so.

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