Mayor of Jellico: finances are back on track

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JELLICO, Tenn. (WVLT) -- According to Mayor Les Stiers, things are looking up for Jellico.

"We've come a long way. And the future is very bright for Jellico," he said.

That's good news, since the city has struggled with its finances. In October, after paying all the bills, there wasn't enough money to make payroll.

Late last month, City Council approved an amended budget. First, it lowered the projected revenue by over $560,000.

"For six to eight years, our property taxes had been calculated at about $390,000, when really the number was $155,000. Our wholesale beer taxes last year from July 1 was $250,000, when it was hard to make $125,000, " said Stiers.

Then the city made some tough spending decisions, like eliminating five part-time dispatcher jobs. The plan is to have a fireman work overnights dispatching and responding to fires, which is already the policy during the day.

"You can't just leave the phones and the radios - you still have to have someone here dispatching. As well as you have to have someone answer the fire calls," said Nelson Kidd, who handles dispatching and fire calls during the daytime.

Stiers said an on-call system still needs to be worked out.

He said one of the city's two sanitation workers will now work part-time, saving Jellico about $33,000. Thursday garbage pickup will also end.

"Those that have the Thursday route will either go to Wednesday or Friday. But what that does is save the city on fuel, diesel fuel, maintenance and landfill costs," said Stiers.

The city is also changing its workers compensation provider, which will save about $50,000 in premiums.

He said now that finances are in order, the focus will be on bringing more jobs to the area.

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