(February 28, 2013) Jackson, TN - The Jackson Energy Authority Board of Directors welcomed Monte Jones to their ranks today at their monthly board meeting.
Monte Jones is the President at the Jackson branch of Commercial Bank & Trust. Per the ethics rules of the board, Commercial Bank & Trust had to be removed from the approved banking list to prevent any conflicts of interest. However, since there were no open accounts with them, this change didn’t affect the board.
JEA had their annual sanitary survey done on their water system. This is where the state comes in and inspects everything from the cleanliness of the tanks to following employees in the field. Out of a 100 point system, JEA usually scores in the 95 to 99 point range. This year, the water system scored a perfect score of 100, a rare feat for water systems.
TVA has released their fuel cost adjustment numbers to take effect on March 1. This change can see a $1.63 savings on residential services on an average bill. Fuel cost adjustment rates come straight from TVA and are passed on directly to customers.
The board approved the purchase of 7,500 feet of 500 MCM copper underground cable for a downtown power network. This thick and weighty cable is part of completing a circuit of this network. These cables cost $13 per foot. When these cables are installed, the must be installed in a bundle of three, making the price $39 per foot. They build this in segments because building this underground network can cost around $500,000 per mile.
The LANA area will have 10,760 feet of their gas system replaced. They will use the directional boring method which does less disruption to the existing landscape.
A Jackson woman surrendered at the Jackson Police Department this morning. According to investigators Steiner is alleged to have raped a 13-year-old boy.
Hannah Steiner, 18, was arraigned at 8 a.m. today in Jackson City Court on charges of rape and two counts of statutory rape. Her bond was set at $5,000. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 7 in city court.
According to police, the investigation indicated that on Sunday around 9:55 a.m., Steiner and the boy were in a room at Skyline Church of Christ, 1024 Skyline Drive. Investigators say the two engaged in appropriate touching. The boy tried to stop, but Steiner forced him to have sex.
Steiner is free on $5000 bond
The Madison County Board of Zoning Appeals met on Wednesday.
Mr. R.T. Hunt approached the board to get an approval to sell antiques and seasonal goods from a shop that he is constructing behind is home. He put in an application with the planning office and was told that it was a zoning issue and if it were brought before this board, which doesn’t do rezoning, it would be denied. They offered him a refund and he accepted.
Mr. Hunt then applied again and wished to go before the board to make his case and then repaid the $200 fee. The board had to deny his request and advised him to talked to the planning office again and submit it to the Madison County Planning Commission since they are the board that deals with rezoning.
In addition to a suggestion to deny from the planning department, there was a petition signed by 12 property owners in the area that did not want the proposal approved.
The board voted on giving Mr. Hunt his license, which was denied. They also voted on refunding his application money. That too was denied.
They approved a home business license to Keith and Beth Patterson for a web based business selling exercise equipment and videos. They also approved a new 250 foot cell phone tower in Mercer.
The board also approved a home office for Heath Hern for a remodeling and restoration business. This approval is conditional on the premises being cleaned of any materials that are outside and that employees do not park at the residence, but meet them at the job site.
The Lift Center is having their official Grand Opening on February 28.
The ribbon cutting will take place at 4PM.
Following the ribbon cutting, the Chamber will have their Business After Hours networking event.
State Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. is recommending that the General Assembly adopt a number of reforms to the state’s retirement plan for public employees. The Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) is a well-funded pension plan. The proposed changes will only apply to state employees, higher education employees, and teachers hired on or after July 1, 2014 and will ensure the continued financial strength of the TCRS. The bill will not affect the retirement benefits for current state employees, higher education employees, or teachers.
“I want to stress that the changes I am recommending would not affect eligibility or benefits for employees or retirees who are already part of TCRS,” Treasurer Lillard said. “In fact, making these changes will help ensure that TCRS remains financially secure to honor the commitments made to those employees and retirees.”
Because pension plans carry costs and liabilities that stretch over many decades, Treasurer Lillard said it is important to look well into the future when evaluating a plan’s financial health.
“Let me be very clear: TCRS is in good financial shape right now, just as it has been for many decades,” Treasurer Lillard said. “That’s attributable to a number of factors, including the General Assembly’s commitment to ensuring TCRS is adequately funded, an effective investment strategy and fair but conservative benefit payouts. However, it is important to take a long view when trying to anticipate what a retirement plan’s future costs will be. Based on the actuarial projections and other information my staff and I have studied, we believe changes are needed now to protect taxpayers, employees and retirees in the future.”
Treasurer Lillard presented the General Assembly’s Council on Pensions and Insurance with proposed legislation Monday that, if adopted, would implement his recommendations. He is scheduled to have a more detailed discussion with council members during a follow-up meeting March 4.
The changes he is proposing would limit the state’s future liability for pension costs by creating a hybrid between a defined benefit plan, which guarantees specific payouts to retirees based on a formula, and a defined contribution plan, in which the state would provide fixed amounts of money to employees’ 401(k) or similar types of accounts.
The reforms would also reduce pension costs by adjusting the formula used to calculate retirement benefits, raising eligibility requirements and collecting employee payroll deductions. The new plan will also have cost controls that will apply only if the plan’s total costs exceed certain thresholds.
“In 2003, state taxpayers were spending about $264 million annually to support the pension system,” Treasurer Lillard said. “That number had grown to $731 million last year. Based on projections we have seen, the cost could go up by one-third or more over the next 10 years if changes aren’t made, which would push the taxpayers’ total annual expense above $1 billion.”
For further information, please go to www.treasury.tn.gov/tcrs and select the tab titled “Proposed State and Teacher Plans.”
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