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Archives 03-02-2005

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Air Evac team visits Head Start
Budget Committee considers effect of sheriff's lawsuit
Shooting suspect turns self in Saturday

 

 

Air Evac team visits Head Start

Heather Barnes/OCN staff
Air Evac Lifeteam visited Livingston Head Start last Wednesday, Feb. 23 to let the children have an up-close-and-personal view of a helicopter. The preschoolers enjoyed climbing aboard the aircraft and learning about the helicopter controls, as well as the Lifeteam's experience saving lives through air transport.

Air Evac Lifeteam consists of a group of highly trained pilots, paramedics, and nurses who stand by 24 hours a day to respond to critical medical emergencies. They work closely with local ambulance services to make sure injured persons reach the appropriate medical facility as quickly as possible.

While the average medical flight costs the patient up to $8,000, Air Evac offers memberships for households in the Middle Tennessee area. For $50 a year, an entire household can be transported by Air Evac any time they encounter a medical emergency that requires air transport services. Lifetime memberships per household are available at $500.

More information about Air Evac and becoming a member may be obtained by calling 1-800-793-0010 or by visiting online at www.lifeteam.net.

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Budget Committee considers effect of sheriff's lawsuit

By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN staff
Overton County Legislative Body's Budget Committee met on Wednesday evening, Feb. 23 to consider how a lawsuit filed by Sheriff Bud Swallows could effect the county.

Budget Committee Chairman Randall Boswell opened the meeting saying, "The committee requested to look at what the sheriff's lawsuit would cost the county as far as tax money, if he were to win it, how it would impact our county over the next year."

The suit filed by Sheriff Swallows asks for $961,686 more than the $1,871,876 currently budgeted.

The Sheriff's Department's budget was $1,661,388 in 2003-2004, which included $125,896 for six new vehicles, and the budget was $1,524,495 in 2002-2003, which included $43,562 for two new vehicles, according to information supplied to the committee.

Information compiled by a CPA with 34 years of experience with the state comptroller's office indicated the need for an additional 47 cents of property tax collections to provide the increase asked for in the lawsuit.

Overton County's current property tax rate is $1.94. The rate is based on a collection rate for each penny in the amount of $20,529.

The report states, "Without any increases in the property tax rate for solid waste, highways, schools, debt service, or other general county expenses, the county would have to have a total estimated tax levy of $2.41 to fund the operations of the county."

The increase would be almost 25%.

The report shows that the tax on property valued at $150,000 would go from $727.50 under the current rate to $903.75 under the $2.41 rate, and that the tax on property valued at $250,000 would go up from $1,212.50 to $1,506.25.

A survey of seven Tennessee counties with comparable population and area was conducted to compare Overton County's salaries and fringe benefits for the Sheriff's Department with those of other counties. Of the petitioned increase, almost $375,000 is sought for salaries.

The counties surveyed included White, DeKalb, Fentress, Morgan, and Smith, according to County Mayor Kenneth Copeland.

Budget Committee member Ben Danner said, "On our salary, we went over this one time, compared to every county that's comparable to us, our benefits are mostly better."

The committee noted that Overton County has a lower starting pay than some of the counties in the survey, but that Overton had more benefits.

Mayor Copeland said, "You can see by that survey, Overton County is right at the top with all the consideration of health insurance, retirement benefits, annual leave, sick leave, and all that."

After further discussion, Budget Committee member Stanley Carter Jr. said, "Well, I will tell you that, a 25% increase, the people in Overton County are definitely going to feel this. And there's nothing that we as a County Court can do about this unless the sheriff either loses this lawsuit or drops it."

The meeting adjourned without making any recommendations.

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Shooting suspect turns self in Saturday

Brandon Dale Simpson turned himself in at Overton County Sheriff's Department on Saturday, Feb. 26, according to reports.

Simpson, 23, of Cookeville, is a suspect in the February 20 shooting of three young men at a residence in the Highland Mountain area.

mpson was charged with Attempted Criminal Homicide and placed in Overton County Jail, where he was awaiting a hearing in Overton County General Sessions Court on Tuesday, March 1.

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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
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