June 20, 2016

While they brag of a higher fund balance, this group of commissioners has added more and more debt, more spending, and higher taxes each year they have been in office.  They can spend more because they have pushed the payments for all their debt out for almost a decade to let other boards struggle with taking care of paying for it.

Debt Increases FY13-15

As you can see in the chart, FY13 capital leases were $375,228.  The FY13 audit included 1/2 of the previous board and 1/2 of this BOC.  In FY15, leases were $1,261,387.  If interest were included, another $85,600 would bring the capital lease debt to $1,347,022—almost one million dollars more debt in two years.

There is “Capital Lease” debt and there is “Contracts Payable;” both are considered long term debt in the audit.  Contracts payable is money due from Jasper County to the Joint Development Authority a/k/a the Four County Development Authority or Stanton Springs.

See list of “County Capital Leases” and “Contracts Payable” here.

In FY 13 Contract Payables were $501,218.  In FY 15 this increased to $935,551 due to this BOC signing for another $5.9M of debt for JDA at their very first meeting in 2013.  Jasper’s share of that debt would be $590,000 plus interest.

FY16 will not bring us any relief from debt because more equipment and more Sheriff’s cars have been financed.  Additionally, in FY 16 this BOC signed on and obligated Jasper County to a $1.3M note owed by JDA to the Bank of Madison and another $600,000 LOC (line of credit) that JDA is drawing on. 

Jasper County made it through the tough years of 2009 and 2010 in particular because they had very little debt.  It won’t be that easy in the future with the additional debt this BOC keeps piling on year after year.


Be informed!  Get involved!


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  1. Alan W. Cox says:

    Albert Einstein said, to paraphrase…the problem with a Democracy is that you get the government you deserve.

  2. Enough with the borrowing says:

    We owe, we owe, we’ll just increase your taxes some mo’.

    It would behoove the BOC to think long and hard before increasing the debt even more.

    One just has to look to our neighbor, Jefferson County, Alabama. I’m sure they thought they could manage debt until it got the better of them.

    Debt is never a good thing.

    Do not accustom yourself to consider debt only as an inconvenience; you will find it a calamity.”
    -Samuel Johnson

    “Debt is like any other trap, easy enough to get into, but hard enough to get out of.”
    -Henry Wheeler Shaw

    Never spend your money before you have it.
    – Thomas Jefferson

    “The second vice is lying; the first is running in debt.”
    -Benjamin Franklin

  3. Scrap Recovery says:

    until Pennamon and others are Ousted from BOC it always will get worse! they are spending the most on crap NOT needed, Tighten there belts like tax payers are having to. Let them Do more with Less! the are spending on crap NOT needed Like not paving roads, yet spending $20.00 ton for 56/57 rock when crusher run will last longer on roads and cost $3.00 to $4.00 dollars less then the rock they pay for.

    • Common Sense says:

      You are correct on crusher run gravel. It is less expensive and does a far better job because it actually packs–making a hard surface. I have seen it used for decades in other counties and have used it on my driveway for decades. I do not drive on dirt roads in the county so was unaware it is not being used. This is a classic case where commissioners do not have a clue how to correctly solve problems and save the taxpayers money in the process. You would think that any commissioner of a rural county with many dirt roads would know to use crusher run gravel. These commissioners are the same ones who allowed the “plate dirt” fiasco presented by Ms. Degges to happen. This BOC does not do their due diligence in making decisions. Whatever Gene proposes they go along with and I would bet that GT and the rest do not even know what crusher run gravel is. I do not know if poor decision making and lack of knowledge of this board is ignorance or stupidity, or both, but in any case it is inexcusable.

  4. Let The Red Ink Flow says:

    So this is what Trammell administration’s focus on unity, positive thinking, Smart Growth and strategic planning has brought us; debt beyond out wildest dreams.

    And, why not? Doesn’t Jasper County deserve growth at any cost?
    Isn’t having our taxes increased every year a small price to pay for allowing FORWARD JASPER to plan our glorious future.

    Thank Saint Sillius we have that loud, boisterous character of Eugene Trammell in possession of the chutzpah to push Jasper Forward, no matter the consequence . If we can’t live for tomorrow today, then what is tomorrow for?

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