Sales tax revenues in DeKalb County were down in September and October compared to those same months in 2007.
County Mayor Mike Foster says if that trend continues, it will have an affect on the county budget.
During Monday night's county commission meeting, Foster asked that the local legislative body take action asking all county department heads to come before the commission before making any major purchases. The commission approved Foster's request.
Foster gave a break down on the gross receipts of sales taxes for the actual months of June through October.
June 2007 (Reported in August)- $300,920
June 2008 (Reported in August)- $308, 904
July 2007 (Reported in September) $220, 863
July 2008 (Reported in September) $302, 757
August 2007 (Reported in October) $308, 593
August 2008 (Reported in October) $313, 094
September 2007 (Reported in November) $271, 257
September 2008 (Reported in November) $262, 934
October 2007 (Reported in December) $279, 250
October 2008 (Reported in December) $252, 463
"That's about a 10% decline for October and 8% the month before" said Foster. " We need to ask all the departments to really scrutinize their purchases and anything above $5,000 needs to come before the full commission for them to look at it before we go through the bidding process. We need to be careful not to assume that the money is coming in at the rate we projected, when we know it started to decline in September. What we are concerned about is how much did November and December decline?"
If the Congress passes an economic stimulus package, the DeKalb County Commission would like to use any available money locally for water line extension and improvements in portions of the county.
Monday night, County Mayor Foster asked the commission to authorize an application for Community Development Grant through the Upper Cumberland Development District, if funding becomes available. "Depending on if and when the stimulus happens, we want to be ready in case there is some money that comes out early for CDBG grants."
Foster says grant funds would benefit several local families with improved water services. "This is a request for water line improvements from Liberty to Dismal Road, from Henley Hollow to Tramel Branch to Highway 70 and across Tramel Branch to Lower Helton. It's a total of 6.3 miles and would serve 37 houses."
"Another one is Dry Creek Road east from Dry Creek Baptist Church 1.2 miles on up to the old metal bridge at the upper end of Dry Creek. It's 1.2 miles and would serve seven houses."
"Other projects include Oakley Road which goes north to northeast from Fuller's Chapel. It's 2 miles and there's eight houses; Long Branch off of Highway 96 down near Center Hill Marina. It's 3 miles and would serve 21 houses; Turner Road from Old Blue Springs Road near Shiney Rock store over to Jacob's Pillar Road. It's 1.1 miles and there's eight houses; Givens Hollow is 1.5 miles with 16 houses; and Cook Hollow is 6 houses and .5 miles"
The commission voted to seek the grant funding.
And on a separate issue, the commission Monday night adopted a resolution seeking loan/grant funds to purchase a new ambulance and related equipment. "We're applying for a grant to buy an ambulance and ambulance equipment" said Foster. " If it is granted, we would be given a $17,000 grant. We would also be loaned $83,000 to finish out the purchase of that equipment at a rate of 4.5% and we would match the grant of $17,000 with $14,000 in local money."
In other business, the commission voted to request the Tennessee Highway Patrol to conduct a study and recommend a safe speed limit for Holiday Haven Road and the Old Sparta Highway as requested by local residents there.
The commission also voted to ask TDOT for authorization to have installed caution and stop lights at the intersection at Highway 70 and Highway 83 near Kilgore's Restaurant. County Mayor Foster says this intersection is dangerous and fourteen wrecks have occurred there in recent months. The request is for stop lights to be installed on Highway 83 and caution lights on Highway 70.
In addition, the commission is seeking authorization from TDOT for the installation of street lights to better illuminate the intersections of Highway 70 and Dry Creek Road and at Highway 70 and Hurricane Ridge Road.
The DeKalb County Fire Department has re-elected Donny Green as Fire Chief and Roy Merriman as Assistant Chief for the year. The county commission voted to approve the appointments.
The commission adopted a resolution proclaiming January "Radon Action Month" to help educate persons about the dangers of radon exposure and encourage actions to identify and to address radon problems in the home.
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep into homes through cracks and openings in their foundations. It cannot be seen, tasted or smelled, but in concentrated levels, radon can pose a threat to human health. The EPA estimates that approximately 70 percent of Tennessee's population lives in high risk or moderate risk radon areas. According to the EPA, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.
The best time to test is during consistently cold weather, usually from October to March. This is the time of year when doors and windows are shut, so test results are more representative of in-home exposure. Radon problems can be fixed by qualified contractors for a cost comparable to that of many common household repairs, such as painting or installing a new water heater.
In Tennessee, radon test kits can be purchased at most local hardware and home improvement stores.