Trip to comptroller postponed

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Jellico officials will answer to state summoners in July

By Beth Braden

JELLICO—The Board of Mayor and Alderman need not pack its bags just yet; the meeting with the comptroller’s office in Nashville has been postponed.
On June 14, Mayor Les Stiers and the board members received a scathing letter from the comptroller informing them they must raise taxes and finalize a budget.
“If you do not adopt a budget and tax rate, I will submit a budget and tax rate for you,” wrote Comptroller Justin P. Wilson.
Town officials were summoned to appear before the comptroller on June 26.
On June 20, board members received word that the meeting had been postponed because the 2013-14 budget still isn’t approved.
The comptroller’s office also expressed concern about a line item in the budget that adds nearly $300,000 in expected revenue.
“We have looked at the ordinance…and have concerns about the substantial increase in the amount estimated to be raised by fines and forfeitures,” wrote auditor Iris Haby in her letter about postponing the meeting. “If you pass the budget with that line item unchanged, please be prepared to defend the reasonableness of that amount.”
The 2013-14 budget projects $417,316 in revenue from fines and forfeitures. The 2012-13 budget called for only $130,000 — an overcast of more than $287,000.
The extra money will come from stricter enforcement of traffic fines and other citations, Stiers contends.
The mayor said the number is not a quota for officers, but the expectation that the town will get their “due share” of revenue.
“People need to pay their fine in full, not waive a $200 ticket to $10,” he said.
Budget approval is scheduled for July 1. Stiers has asked the comptroller to schedule the meeting for July 2 at 1 p.m., CST.
Money for the trip will come from the town coffers.