Jellico leaders spar at meeting

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By Beth Braden

With only four months remaining in the fiscal year, the town of Jellico finally has a functioning budget.

“We poured through the numbers and we brought the numbers in line with what we felt like was genuine, not a pie-in-the-sky deal,” said Jellico Mayor Les Stiers.

The new budget accounts for a $624,637 decrease in revenues combined with a $555,520 decrease in expenditures.

“I want to express to you so I can express it to the council how important this is. It’s up to the leaders here to make the tough decisions,” Stiers said during the meeting

The comptroller was displeased with the first vote regarding the budget, according to Stiers.

“She [Iris Haby] was a little upset there was a vote of 4 to 2,” Stiers said. At the Feb. 5 special called meeting, alderman Alvin Evans and vice mayor Venita “Cissco” Johnson voted against approving the budget.

“We’ve got some tough decisions. It just didn’t get this way guys. People just want to place blame,” Stiers said.

According to Evans, the town previously received $30,000 a month in beer taxes and now struggles to take in $9,000. He said the town has lost eight businesses in the last 18 months.

“What used to be is not there anymore,” he said. “I really appreciated that donut store.”

 “It shows,” Stiers answered.

“I thought you was going swimming ‘cause you got the inner tube on,” Evans retorted. “We just need to look deeper before we jump into it [the budget].”

The budget ultimately passed with Evans and Johnson still dissenting.

Rights of way

Two rights of way have been abandoned and split between property owners.

Davant Street between S. Queener Avenue and Sunset Trail was planned, but never paved. It runs between two residents’ properties. The land on the right of way will be divided equally among the property owners and the portions will once again be on the tax roll.

A right of way of 5th Avenue between S. Main Street and Hurst Avenue was also relinquished to be split among property owners.

“The name of the game is to make money,” Stiers said. The town has a total of 197 rights of way that could be given up. Originally, the parcels were intended to be paved as streets, but that never happened, Stiers said.

The board unanimously approved relinquishing both properties.


There were only five unpaid bills still due for the month of February, according to a document included in board member’s information packet.

“The very first sheet that you’ve got here would be unpaid bills that we’ve got in a box in there ready to be paid,” Stiers said.

The bills were payable to Ellison Sanitary Supply, AT&T, Charles Towing, First Volunteer Bank and IHC Health.

Those bills do not include ongoing unpaid bills such as money owed to Blue Cross Blue Shield, Craine Thompson and Jones, the IRS, and TML.

In January, the board decided not to pay Craine Thompson and Jones $32,000 because they were both bookkeeping and auditing for the town.

“They were doing all the bookkeeping and then turning around and auditing themselves,” Stiers said. “That’s kind of stupid.”

The town still owes $68,000 to the IRS for second, third and fourth quarter payroll taxes. Stiers said the check from Montclair Industries to purchase the old Taylor Machine Shop building will provide enough money to cover that bill in the next two weeks.

“The money that we’ll get from the sale of the building will pay our payroll taxes,” Stiers said.

In order to ensure the town doesn’t fail to pay taxes, payroll taxes are now being sent weekly, according to the mayor.

The town will not pay $42,000 to Blue Cross Blue Shield either, the mayor said.

BCBS originally dropped the town because of non-payment and issued a bill for money past due.

Employees began receiving bills from their doctors because they were uninsured. At that time, the mayor said he told the employees to bring their bills in to the municipal building.

“What I wanted to do was take our employees out of harm’s way. They didn’t create this problem. We did. I don’t want to employee to have to battle an insurance company one on one,” he said.

The $42,000 will not be paid because bills from the employees amounted to less than $5,000.

“The city’s coming out a lot better than paying $42,000,” he said.

As for TML, the town is still making payments to clear the $57,000 debt incurred from July to December 2012.

“We pay a little as we go on and they’re sufficed with that,” Stiers said.

City salvage

More aluminum poles were declared to be surplus property that could be auctioned off. The motion to declare the poles as surplus passed unanimously.

The caboose in Veteran’s Park was briefly discussed as surplus property, but board members instead said they’d like to see a store or coffee shop placed into the caboose so the town doesn’t loose a landmark.

“We’ve tried to put all kinds of people in there,” said Evans.

“We ought to put you in there, padlock it,” Stiers said. “I’m gonna put you in there have an engine couple up and drag you out of here.”

Other business

• The board approved a $50 fee to erect or significantly alter signs within the town.

• The board accepted the Campbell County Hazard Mitigation Plan with only alderwoman Pam Carbaugh dissenting.