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Archives 03-17-2010

News

Wall of flame shuts down part of West Main
County unemployment rate rises to 13.4% in January
Meth lab located in Willow Grove area
State revenue collections $47M under budget estimate

Wall of flame shuts down part of West Main


Morgan Walters photo
Volunteer firefighters help stretch a water hose to help in containing a fire that destroyed an unoccupied West Main Street house Friday, March 12. According to reports, Livingston Fire Department were dispatched to the scene around 4:45 p.m. and found the house, which belonged to Larry Worley and Gary Worley, fully engulfed. Firefighters focused on keeping the fire from spreading to nearby buildings and wooded area. The cause of the fire was unknown and the fire was still under investigation at press time.


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County unemployment rate rises to 13.4% in January
County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for January 2010, released March 11, show that the rate increased in all 95 counties.

Overton County’s unemployment rate was 13.4% for January, up from 11.9% in December. Overton had 1,330 unemployed of a workforce of 9,910.

Overton County is included in the Cookeville Micropolitan Statistical Area, along with Putnam County and Jackson County. Unemployment in the Cookeville MSA went up from 10.6% to 11.3% in January, with 5,650 unemployed of a workforce of 49,940.

Jackson County’s unemployment rate went up from 12.7% in December to 14.5% in January. Jackson had 720 unemployed of a workforce of 4,960.
Putnam County’s unemployment rate rose from 9.9% in December to 10.3% in January. Putnam had 3,600 unemployed of a workforce of 35,070.

Clay County’s unemployment rate went up from 13.9% in December to 14.7% in January. Clay had 480 unemployed of a labor force of 3,250.

Fentress County’s unemployment rate went up from 13.3% to 14.1% in January. Fentress had 1,110 unemployed of a workforce of 7,880.

Pickett County had the state’s 6th highest unemployment rate at 18.7%, up from 16.7 in December. And Scott County’s unemployment rate was the state’s 8th highest at 18.3%, up from 17.94% in December.

Pickett County had 330 unemployed of a workforce of 1,760.
Unemployment information is available online at

http://www.tennessee.gov/labor-wfd/labor_figures/january2010county.pdf.



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Meth lab located in Willow Grove area


Gregory A. Bowers was arrested on outstanding warrants and for fleeing authorities.


Items alleged to be used in the making of methamphetamine were removed from a residence on Willow Grove Highway.

Overton County Sheriff’s Department shut down an alleged meth lab on Monday, March 8.

According to reports, Deputy Johnny Cyrus was given consent to search the Willow Grove Highway residence of Gregory A. Bowers, and he was assisted in the search by Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Jim Beaty and Trooper Neil Matthews. Bowers had outstanding arrest warrants for Violation of Probation and a General Sessions capias.

While searching the residence, Dep. Cyrus and Trooper Matthews allegedly located an operational methamphetamine lab in the attic. Deputy Steve Hritz, who is a certified methamphetamine lab technician, Sheriff W.B. Melton, and Chief Deputy Frank Dial were called to the scene.

Deputies allegedly located two burn piles behind the residence with components used to manufacture methamphetamine. Also found inside the residence were chemicals associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine.

According to reports, Dep. Cyrus found Bowers hiding in an abandoned building in the wooded area beside the residence, but Bowers fled on foot and was apprehended a short time later with assistance of Deputies Stephen Castle and Ashley Tharp.

Gregory A. Bowers was arrested and charged with Evading Arrest, Resisting Arrest, Criminal Trespassing, and the outstanding warrants for Violation of Probation and the General Sessions capias. Charges related to the methamphetamine lab will be presented to Overton County Grand Jury at a later date, according to the Sheriff’s Dept.

Dep. Hritz stated, “This was a large lab and took several hours to clean up. Due to the house conditions, the residence has been quarantined.”

Other agencies assisting with the cleanup were Tennessee Highway Patrol, Eagle Haz-Mat Cleanup Crew, and the Methamphetamine Task Force Response Truck.


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State revenue collections $47M under budget estimate
State revenue collections once again fell short of budgeted estimates last month. Overall February revenues were $638.9 million, which is $47.1 million less than the state budgeted.

Finance and Administration Commissioner Dave Goetz said, “This entire fiscal year has brought us negative growth in the sales tax, which is almost two-thirds of our revenue. Moreover, the running total is now 21 consecutive months of negative growth in sales tax collections since January 2008, when the downward economic spiral began for us in Tennessee.

“In spite of the budgetary challenges, we have laid out a plan for balancing the budget and we’re working with the legislature to end this year and the next with a balanced budget, as our constitution requires.”

On an accrual basis, February is the seventh month in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

The general fund was under collected by $43.8 million, and the four other funds were under collected by $3.3 million.

Sales tax collections were $38.4 million less than the estimate for February.

The February growth rate was negative 6.67%. The year-to-date growth rate for seven months is negative 5.84%.

Franchise and excise taxes combined were $1.4 million above the budgeted estimate of $33 million. For seven months, revenues are overcollected by $7.4 million. The year-to-date growth rate for seven months is 8.32%.

Gasoline and motor fuel collections for February decreased by 3.86%, but were $180,000 above the budgeted estimate of $68.3 million. For seven months, revenues are undercollected by $13.9 million.

Tobacco tax collections were $4 million under the budgeted estimate of $23.1 million. For seven months, revenues are overcollected in the amount of $303,000.

Year-to-date collections for seven months were $232.4 million less than the budgeted estimate. The general fund was undercollected by $196.3 million, and the four other funds were undercollected by $36.1 million.

The budgeted revenue estimates for 2009-2010 are based on the State Funding Board’s consensus recommendation adopted by the first session of the 106th General Assembly in May of 2009, and are available on the state’s website at http//www.th.gov/finance/bud/budget.html.

The State Funding Board met again on December 18 and adopted revised revenue ranges for 2009-2010. The revised ranges reflect growth rates ranging from negative 1.50% to negative 0.25% in total taxes, and negative 2.35% to negative 0.85% in general fund taxes.

Based on the funding board’s consensus recommendation, the official budgeted estimates for 2009-2010 were revised in late December. The revised estimates are reflected on pages A-70 and A-72 in the 2010-2011 Budget Document. The revised estimates assume an undercollection in total taxes in the amount of $161.3 million, and an under collection of $153.2 million in the general fund.

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Overton County News
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Livingston' Tennessee 38570
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