County Commission tax scandal grows

County Commission tax scandal grows

There are 50 comments on the story from Jul 21, 2011, titled County Commission tax scandal grows. In it, reports that:

Four commissioners want you to pay more taxes while they refuse to pay their own!

Following WSMV Channel 4's shocking expose of Hickman County Commissioner Brad Leeper's refusal to pay his solid waste fees on six properties since 2005, HickmanOnline.org has learned from a former county commissioner that three more commissioners have done the same thing.

Leeper, elected from the 1st District, has racked up a bill of $2,272 according to Anita Allen, the deputy director of the Hickman County Solid Waste department.

Leeper has six liens, according to Allen, but still hasn't paid.

"The comment he's made is that he's not going to get rid of his property," Allen said.

Leeper wouldn't talk to Channel 4 about his $2,272 unpaid trash bill.

Shown here is 5th District Commissioner Dusty Jordan, who has also been identified as one of those who wants to increase your taxes while not paying his own.

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“Hickman County Journalist”

Since: Sep 10

Location hidden

#1 Jul 21, 2011
I have been informed today that the Hickman County Times, which I had not seen, this week has a more complete list of all local officials who have not paid various taxes.

“Hickman County Journalist”

Since: Sep 10

Location hidden

#2 Jul 21, 2011
The first edition of this story contained a factual error on the amounts owed by the three most recently named commissioners. The amounts were not $1,900 each, according to my source, but from "a few hundred dollars" up to $1,900. It may have been a typographical error that should have read $190.

I am glad to print the correction and when I have more detailed information on additional officials, that will be posted also.

“Hickman County Journalist”

Since: Sep 10

Location hidden

#3 Jul 23, 2011
Eight officials owe back waste fees

According to the Hickman County Times, in a July 18, 2011 article by Editor Bradley Martin, eight elected officials owed $5,309.35 in back solid waste fees.

They are:
1st District Commissioner Brad Leeper -$2,002.05 (WSMV reports $2,272.00)
5th District Commissioner Dusty Jordan -$1,835.10
School Board member Dwight Sullivan -$951.30
Commissioner Lloyd Mangrum -$213.10
Commissioner Keith Nash -$100.80
Centerville Alderman Mike Elkins -$100.80
Highway Commissioner G.C. Tinsley -$100.80
Constable Eugene Harness -$5.40.

All four of the commissioners are on the Budget Committee, which is seeking a $60 increase in the wheel tax, making it the highest in the state.

These amounts are past due only and do not include current assessments, which are due Sept. 30. The fees are $90 per year plus 1.5% per month added to late bills.

Nash and Elkins now say they have paid their bills, after the WSMV report. Elkins claims he didn't know he owed anything. Jordan's bill has been unpaid since 2003. Leeper's has been unpaid since 2005. Jordan has since gotten $495.45 taken off his bill on the grounds he had one dwelling, not two, at his Morgan Creek Road property.

Leeper reportedly told Solid Waste Dept. deputy director Anita Allen he had no intention of paying his past-due fees. After a vociferous expression of public anger, he backtracked and told Martin, "I do owe some. Everybody's wanting to say hard time - I know it just as well as anybody."

Asked if he was going to pay it, he said "I'm not sure yet. I'm going to look at it."

Mangrum, in an interview with Topix.com , refused to say how much he owed, and could not be reached by the Times. His wife, Tammy, told the Times they had no idea they hadn't paid the fees.

The four commissioners have authority over local taxation and county spending. Elkins also shares that same responsibility within the City of Centerville.

Because of a small population increase, according to the 2010 census report, liens can no longer be placed on past due waste bills as of March 16, 2011.

Counties with populations of 22,200 to 22,500 between 2000 and 2010, as well as two other population ranges, could file liens according to Tennessee law (TCA 68-211-835g4. But with a 2010 population of 24,690, Hickman County can no longer do that.

The issue has drawn controversy because of a commission plan to increase the county wheel tax to the highest in the state - a $60 increase per vehicle. If that fails, they intend to ask for a large property tax increase.

Some of those in favor, such as Dusty Jordan, say it is required to pay off the county's Debt Service - even though the Debt Service fund has been repeatedly drawn on to pay General Fund expenses.

The proposed budget also shows that the top department heads will get heft salary increases, while lower level employees will receive pay cuts. County Mayor Steve Gregory, for example, will jump from $66,702 to $71,322 - more than a $4,600 raise.
I Spy

Ashland City, TN

#4 Jul 24, 2011
"I spy....with my little eye" alot of reputations being scarred by not being accurate with printed information-these people have children, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters-How sad to bring everyone in on a conflict between two people.

“Hickman County Journalist”

Since: Sep 10

Location hidden

#5 Jul 25, 2011
Some of this inaccuracy has been my own, with no malice intended and with corrections made as quickly as my errors were brought to my attention.

Other inaccuracies have come about because of deliberate(?) misinformation by former officials who are trying to make their replacements look worse than they are. One such former official, who is still in the news a lot, has provided me with a phony e-mail address, misleading figures and never emailed me as he promised.

You know who you are and I am waiting for you to keep your promise. That said, your credibility is destroyed and you won't pull that same trick on me twice. Maybe I should go ahead and reveal your identity; I never promised to withhold it in the first place.

Since: Jul 11

Location hidden

#6 Jul 25, 2011
I know I for one would like to know who this former official is so that if he would decide to run for some kind of office again in the future I could be making an intelligent decision. With the stunt that he has pulled on many, yourself included we as citizens need to be forwarned so we hopefully would not put him in office again. He obviously does not care whose integrity he is trying to ruin. I know as a journalist you have a duty to protect your sources but I believe you also have a duty to the citizens of Hickman County.
Concerned

Ashland City, TN

#7 Jul 25, 2011
omegareport wrote:
Some of this inaccuracy has been my own, with no malice intended and with corrections made as quickly as my errors were brought to my attention.
Other inaccuracies have come about because of deliberate(?) misinformation by former officials who are trying to make their replacements look worse than they are. One such former official, who is still in the news a lot, has provided me with a phony e-mail address, misleading figures and never emailed me as he promised.
You know who you are and I am waiting for you to keep your promise. That said, your credibility is destroyed and you won't pull that same trick on me twice. Maybe I should go ahead and reveal your identity; I never promised to withhold it in the first place.
When a newsman starts revealing sources they loose creditability and trust. At this point in the game omegareport is trusted and is doing a service to Hickman County by using his skills, education and experience to help rid corruption. There is a great need for a honest and trustful online editor that is actually making a difference.

Since: Jul 11

Location hidden

#8 Jul 26, 2011
I'm a little concerned as I sat in the audience of the County Court last night. One of the issues at hand was a wheel tax increase I was pleasantly surprised to hear that one was not needed. But my concern is that there were a couple of simple mathmatical errors which needed to be corrected and 4 commissioners, Capps, Bates, Booker, and Gammons amazingly voted NO. Why would anybody vote no on correcting mathmatical errors.
Commissioner Gammons

Hohenwald, TN

#9 Jul 26, 2011
I am not opposed to any correction that may be necessary, however I voted no because this was just brought to our attention after a complete package had been presented to us. I have the same excel spreadsheet that the budget committee uses with their same information. This sheet is used to make a working budget to present to the commission. It seems that at budget time every year they either find money or mistakes. Yes, this is actually Commissioner District 2, Ronald Gammons.
Tea Friendly

Ashland City, TN

#10 Jul 26, 2011
eagles fly wrote:
I'm a little concerned as I sat in the audience of the County Court last night. One of the issues at hand was a wheel tax increase I was pleasantly surprised to hear that one was not needed. But my concern is that there were a couple of simple mathmatical errors which needed to be corrected and 4 commissioners, Capps, Bates, Booker, and Gammons amazingly voted NO. Why would anybody vote no on correcting mathmatical errors.
Sometimes commissioners vote 'no' to send the budget back to the committee to get it right or if they oppose using any fund balance to balance the budget. Remember a presented budget is to be accurate and triple checked. Unfortunately I was not able to be there last night because of a sick child but I suspect this may have contributed to the no votes on some parts. When numbers are revealed to go down in number it automatically sends up red flags that other inflated errors are contained within the large document that possibly could be contributing to a presented budget calling for a tax increase or using the budget's rainy day fund. Also 'Robert's rule of order' which the commission uses allows a voting strategy to bring things back to the floor for re evaluation. Some commissioner's use this strategy to work to the advantage of the tax payers should something need to be looked at down the road. I can't say why exactly these commissioners voted no but it was for a reason.
informed

Nashville, TN

#11 Jul 26, 2011
eagles fly wrote:
I'm a little concerned as I sat in the audience of the County Court last night. One of the issues at hand was a wheel tax increase I was pleasantly surprised to hear that one was not needed. But my concern is that there were a couple of simple mathmatical errors which needed to be corrected and 4 commissioners, Capps, Bates, Booker, and Gammons amazingly voted NO. Why would anybody vote no on correcting mathmatical errors.
booker has always voted no on budget, but in all his years on the commision he has NEVER sat on the BUDGET COM.His aprouch to the budget has always been to just vote no.If Mr. booker doesn't like what is coming out of the kitchen why doesn't he get in and help them cook the meal .(meaning that instead of letting someone else write the budget and him voting no, witch is usually the first word a BABY learns to say, he should grow a pair and ask to be on the budget com. and draft a budget to his liking.Anybody can say no ,man up Mr. booker and write the budget you think we need

Since: Jul 11

Location hidden

#12 Jul 26, 2011
informed wrote:
<quoted text>booker has always voted no on budget, but in all his years on the commision he has NEVER sat on the BUDGET COM.His aprouch to the budget has always been to just vote no.If Mr. booker doesn't like what is coming out of the kitchen why doesn't he get in and help them cook the meal .(meaning that instead of letting someone else write the budget and him voting no, witch is usually the first word a BABY learns to say, he should grow a pair and ask to be on the budget com. and draft a budget to his liking.Anybody can say no ,man up Mr. booker and write the budget you think we need
Amen I'm glad somebody else see's the same thing I do. Everybody wants to complain about the budget committee but nobody is willing to serve and the ones that do serve are raked over the coals. I say let the budget committee have all new members and see how that works out. Maybe to be a commissioner it should be mandatory to serve a term on the budget committee.
informed

Nashville, TN

#13 Jul 26, 2011
eagles fly wrote:
<quoted text>
Amen I'm glad somebody else see's the same thing I do. Everybody wants to complain about the budget committee but nobody is willing to serve and the ones that do serve are raked over the coals. I say let the budget committee have all new members and see how that works out. Maybe to be a commissioner it should be mandatory to serve a term on the budget committee.
Mr booker Mr Capps over 10 years each on court and Never on the budget committy and NEVER voted yes on budget.It seems that nobody can write a budget to suit them why don't they sign up and help write one? If I were in there districts I would want an answer to that question, I'll answer it .... THEY HAVE NO ANSWERS OR IDEAS(execpt to vote NO and blame someone else).GENTELMEN WHAT IS YOUR PLAN.And don't say make cuts unless you say what cuts and how much money it will save. I"ll give you a clue. the ONLY place in the budget that there is enough money to matter that can be cut is in EMPLOY SALARYS AND BENEFITS.
WAKE UP PEOPLE

Nashville, TN

#14 Jul 26, 2011
eagles fly wrote:
<quoted text>
Amen I'm glad somebody else see's the same thing I do. Everybody wants to complain about the budget committee but nobody is willing to serve and the ones that do serve are raked over the coals. I say let the budget committee have all new members and see how that works out. Maybe to be a commissioner it should be mandatory to serve a term on the budget committee.
If your commissioner doen't serve on budget in there 4yr term please do not give them your vote, they are not worth it, and if they have had several terms and never served they should be ashamed of themselfs and to embarased to run<but don't count on it>
Life is good

Ashland City, TN

#15 Jul 26, 2011
There are different kinds of public service when you serve as a commissioner. Some elected officials have eonomic degrees, teaching degrees, business management etc. I don't have a problem with a high school graduate (or individual with less schooling) stepping back and serving on other committees to allow others with more schooling to serve on something as important as the budget committee. For example most choose the committees they have professional experience with. EACH YEAR A COMMITTEE NOMINATING COMMITTEE is selected and voted on by the commission. This nominating committee then evaluates and selects candidates to serve on committees they feel they have personal or professional experience with and/or prior committee experience. Then each commissioner is given the opportunity to decline or accept the nomination. IT'S UNKNOWN IF THESE TWO COMMISSIONER'S HAVE EVER BEEN ASK TO SERVE ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE but I did look at the county's website and see both Capps and Booker are pulling their weight on serving on several committees. If someone is sore from serving on the budget committee it is their own fault because they can decline if nominated.
Kegmans friend

Ashland City, TN

#16 Jul 26, 2011
Life is good wrote:
There are different kinds of public service when you serve as a commissioner. Some elected officials have eonomic degrees, teaching degrees, business management etc. I don't have a problem with a high school graduate (or individual with less schooling) stepping back and serving on other committees to allow others with more schooling to serve on something as important as the budget committee. For example most choose the committees they have professional experience with. EACH YEAR A COMMITTEE NOMINATING COMMITTEE is selected and voted on by the commission. This nominating committee then evaluates and selects candidates to serve on committees they feel they have personal or professional experience with and/or prior committee experience. Then each commissioner is given the opportunity to decline or accept the nomination. IT'S UNKNOWN IF THESE TWO COMMISSIONER'S HAVE EVER BEEN ASK TO SERVE ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE but I did look at the county's website and see both Capps and Booker are pulling their weight on serving on several committees. If someone is sore from serving on the budget committee it is their own fault because they can decline if nominated.
I would rather have someone with no education handling my finances (on the budget committee) than someone educated that does not pay their bills. Just saying.
Concerned

Ashland City, TN

#17 Jul 27, 2011
Learning to budget starts at home. It was amazing to see 4 commissioners names on the deliquent solid waste list that was serving on the county budget committee. A credit check should be made on the committee members before put on this committee. How can we expect someone to manage the countys money if they can't manage their bills at home.
informed

Nashville, TN

#18 Jul 27, 2011
Concerned wrote:
Learning to budget starts at home. It was amazing to see 4 commissioners names on the deliquent solid waste list that was serving on the county budget committee. A credit check should be made on the committee members before put on this committee. How can we expect someone to manage the countys money if they can't manage their bills at home.
CREDIT CHECK? What is your responsibilty as a citizen,taxpayer and voter? Not paying your taxes or county solid waste fee should be grounds to remove them from office.
informed

Nashville, TN

#19 Jul 27, 2011
Life is good wrote:
There are different kinds of public service when you serve as a commissioner. Some elected officials have eonomic degrees, teaching degrees, business management etc. I don't have a problem with a high school graduate (or individual with less schooling) stepping back and serving on other committees to allow others with more schooling to serve on something as important as the budget committee. For example most choose the committees they have professional experience with. EACH YEAR A COMMITTEE NOMINATING COMMITTEE is selected and voted on by the commission. This nominating committee then evaluates and selects candidates to serve on committees they feel they have personal or professional experience with and/or prior committee experience. Then each commissioner is given the opportunity to decline or accept the nomination. IT'S UNKNOWN IF THESE TWO COMMISSIONER'S HAVE EVER BEEN ASK TO SERVE ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE but I did look at the county's website and see both Capps and Booker are pulling their weight on serving on several committees. If someone is sore from serving on the budget committee it is their own fault because they can decline if nominated.
if they're not smart enough to be on budget com. they don't need to be on commission
Life is good

Ashland City, TN

#20 Jul 27, 2011
informed wrote:
<quoted text>if they're not smart enough to be on budget com. they don't need to be on commission
It all goes back to the ring leaders of the commission that pick and choose who they want to serve. Go to the September commissioner meeting and watch the show

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