By AMELIA MORRISON HIPPS
The Wilson Post
Wilson County Commissioners approved the fiscal year 2013-2014 budgets for the county and Board of Education Monday night by a vote of 21-3, after a motion to include $99,000 back into it for a Tourism Department failed.
The $42,201,029 county general fund budget includes a 2.5 percent raise for all county employees, except for elected officials. By the same vote for the budget, 21-3, the commission also approved leaving the tax rate at $2.5704 for the coming year.
The most expensive line items in the countys general fund budget are: sheriffs department at $9,466,200; civil defense at $8,349,651; jail at $7,161,181; other charges at $2,695,121; county buildings at $1,617,536; and property assessor at $1,080,570.
The Highway/Public Works Fund, which is primarily the road department, has a budget of $8,333,783, with a capital outlay budget of $1,597,000.
The BOEs General Purpose School Funds budget was approved at $114,444,463 and its General Debt Service Fund at $13,451,072.
The only votes against the budget and tax rate were from District 8 Commissioner Frank Bush, District 3 Commissioner Fred Weston, and District 13 Commissioner Clint Thomas. District 11 Commissioner Jim Bradshaw was absent.
Before the vote on the budget, Bush proposed a resolution that would have tied pay raises for county commissioners to the same percentage given by the state to local constitutional officers.
However, the motion failed by a vote of 2-22, with only Weston joining Bush in voting in favor of it.
District 14 Commissioner Jeff Joines was the most vocal against the resolution, saying, Theres nothing not right about this.
Why would we put ourselves on a pay plan when we wont put the employees on one? Joines asked, referring to a proposal earlier this year that would have created a structured pay plan for all county employees.
District 21 Commissioner Eugene Murray proposed an amendment to add $99,000 for a Tourism Department into the budget. He said $45,000 would go for salary, which an additional $25,000 for benefits, leaving $29,000 for operating expenses.
District 6 Commissioner Kenny Reich noted that without a Tourism Department, tourism money spent in the county was up $539,000. Murray countered that part of that could be attributed to the fact that the economy is better this year than last.
Clint Thomas, District 13 commissioner, added that while tourism dollars are up, we should ask what did we miss because we dont have a tourism department? In addition, Thomas wondered why no one brought forth any issues with the department in 2012 so they could be resolved before the decision was made to eliminate it all together.
Commissioner Mike Justice of District 15, who is chair of the Budget Committee, said he wanted to see a job description and that until that happens, I feel were still throwing money at something we really dont understand.
Several commissioners urged not filling the position until after the proposed arena at the James A. Ward Agricultural Center is approved and built. District 17 Commissioner Gary Keith urged waiting until 2013 is complete and comparing the numbers from this year to last year before any decision is made.
Despite Murray and Thomas both stating that funding the department would be an investment in our future, the measure failed by a vote of 9-15.
Voting in favor of adding the $99,000 to the budget for a Tourism Department were: Weston, Bush, Thomas, Murray, District 5s Jerry McFarland, District 9s Sara Patton, District 10s Nathan Clariday, District 19s William Glover and District 16s Jason Brockman, who seconded Murrays motion.
In other business, the county commission approved:A resolution to provide assistance to low-income elderly residents of the county by means of an additional $100 through a property tax relief grant for those 65 and older who meet certain income criteria. The resolution passed 23-1, with Clariday casting the only no vote, saying he has seen some abuse of the program, which currently gives $50 in property tax relief. Unanimously approved a resolution to affirm and support It Can Wait National Day of Action, the nationwide No Texting While Driving movement and the proclamation of Sept. 19, 2013, as No Text On Board-Pledge Day.
By SABRINA GARRETT
The Wilson Post
To quote Mary Poppins, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious was the only word elaborate enough to describe the 2013 Wilson County Fair, said Wilson County Promotions President Hale Moss.
The fair had recording-breaking attendance this number surpassing the 545,945 guests who attended in 2011. This years 589,229 guests ventured from near and far to Taste the Fun (the theme of this years fair), ride the rides and participate in contests and pageants at the 2013 Wilson County Fair.
A representative of the fair office said they had a busy weekend, with 57,490 attendees on Friday and 123,953 on Saturday. Even folks who did not attend this weekend expected colossal numbers on Saturday, when traffic was backed up on I-40 and Maddox Simpson with families in route to the fair.
The fair kicked-off on Friday, Aug. 16, with a weekend of fun. The Ms. Tennessee Senior America Pageant was held on Saturday, Aug. 17 in the Opry Pavilion and was won by Mt. Juliets Deborah Williams. On Sunday, the crowds were Wild About Hair at the inaugural beauty and design competition. Asante Salon and Day Spa placed first, second and third in the competition. Stylists Kim Bush, Jennie Walpole, Rachel Beechboard, Ashley Laude and Nikki Womack gladly accepted the honors. The Wild About Hair Peoples Choice Award went to the stylists at Lookers Salon.
More than 20 young ladies ages 16 to 21 competed in the Fairest of the Fair pageant on Monday evening, but Friendship Christian student Mikayla Taylor walked away with the crown. Although she had many responsibilities on Tuesday, Taylor arrived at the arena for the Great Give-away drawing at 8:30 p.m. She selected from a cylinder full of over 500,000 raffle tickets the prize ticket which belonged to Robert Fugate of Lebanon. Fugate passed up on the assortment of vehicles in favor of a John Deere tractor.
On Wednesday night, country superstar John Michael Montgomery performed a free concert for fans, courtesy of Tony Bates and Bates Ford.
Although the funnel cake stands and rides have packed up and gone away locals are still buzzing about the fair excitement and eagerly anticipating another grand event in 2014.
I think that it was an event where the stars aligned. The weather was great and it was a fabulous showcase of everything that Wilson County is. All of our friends and neighbors came to check it out, Moss said, adding a special thank you to volunteers and public safety and law enforcement agencies. Hats off to the volunteers and those agencies that kept us safe and the traffic moving. It was a great community effort.
By SABRINA GARRETT
The Wilson Post
Lebanon is among the sites being considered for a new manufacturing plant for gun-maker Remington Arms.
It was reported earlier this week that Remington was looking at sites in the Middle Tennessee area, more specifically, those around Nashville, for a potential corporate relocation or expansion since elected officials in New York, where one of the companys plants is based, have passed new gun-control legislation in recent months.
Local officials were mum regarding the prospect of Remington moving here. G.C. Hixson, executive director of the Joint Economic & Community Development Board of Wilson County, said he could not comment regarding the gun manufacturers intentions.
Relocation to the area would potentially bring hundreds or even more than a thousand new jobs. The plant, based in Ilion, N.Y., reportedly employees 1,200.
Remington Arms Company was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington and is one of the nations oldest continuously operating manufacturers, according to information on the companys website. Headquartered in Madison, N.C., Remington designs, produces and sells sporting goods for the hunting and shooting sports markets, as well as military, government and law enforcement markets.
The Company had revenues in 2004 of approximately $393 million and distributes its products throughout the U.S. and in more than 55 foreign countries.
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at email@example.com.
LEBANON -- A suspect in an early Monday morning stabbing in Head Homes has been identified, and Lebanon Police Department is asking for the publics help to locate the man.
The suspect is identified as Adrian Lopez, 23, of 165 Hunters Creek Blvd., Lebanon, said Chief Scott Bowen in a news release. The incident occurred about 2:30 a.m., Monday, Aug. 26, at #2 Head Homes.
Bowen said the victim remains in Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he was listed in stable condition and able to communicate.
By SABRINA GARRETT
The Wilson Post
More than 375 TRW Automotive hourly employees went on strike late Sunday night seeking better pay and benefits.
A number of those workers have been on the picket line outside the plant located on Baddour Parkway in Lebanon since the strike began.
A UAW (International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America) representative who preferred to not be named said that employees simply want their employer to listen to their concerns.
When the economy took a fall, a lot of cuts were made in 2008 to make the company profitable and more competitive and these workers took those cuts, he explained, adding that the companys CEO John C. Plant earned an estimated base salary of $26 million in 2012. They have come back in five years they have made a comeback and made this company profitable and competitive. All these employees want is a fair share.
He added that employees were up in arms over a proposed contract that included new overtime pay rates and health insurance increases.
Local 343 UAW Chairman Mike Hollingsworth was in agreement with his fellow members opinions on the cuts. These workers deserve more, he said.
TRW employee Wayne Cripps was among those on strike and said that retirement plans and insurance benefits weighed heavy on his mind.
It is unfair, he said. We will be out here as long as it takes.
TRW officials, in a statement issued Monday, said they are continuing to negotiate with the union in good faith and are working to reach an agreement to end the strike. Officials said beyond that, they would not discuss the negotiations, noting that was between them and the union representatives.
TRWs website noted that the company, with headquarters in Livonia, Mich., had sales in 2012 of $16.4 billion.
Wilson Countys unemployment rate for July dropped 0.2 percent to 6.7, down from Junes rate of 6.9 percent. The latest figures put Wilson third in the top 10 counties in Tennessee with the lowest unemployment for July.
The figures were released this week by the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
Wilson had a labor force of 64,890 with 60,560 employed and 4,330 unemployed, according to the report.
Twenty-four years since the revival of the football program, Cumberland kicks off the 2013 season Thursday evening at Tennessee Tech.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Tucker Stadium. Live radio coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on WANT FM-98.9 and around the world on the Internet at www.gocumberlandathletics.com.
First year head coach Donnie Suber wrapped up an abbreviated fall camp last week and turned the focus to Tennessee Tech -- a team he called, the Oregon of the Ohio Valley Conference.
ATHENS -- Shauna Gilpin, Rhianne Parsons and Olivia Chu each scored and handed out an assist, as 13th-ranked Cumberland scored three times in the first half en route to a 3-2 victory over Tennessee Wesleyan Wednesday afternoon.
The Bulldogs (1-0-0) led the NAIA in total goals and ranked second nationally in goals per game last season. The club looked well on its way to another strong offensive performance, with Chu, Rhianne Parsons and Sammy Groves all scoring in the first half, including just three minutes apart on the Parsons and Groves tallies late in the second. CU took a 3-0 advantage to halftime.
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