Statement from Senator Ken Yager regarding City of Jellico

NASHVILLE – Senate State and Local Government Committee Chairman Ken Yager (R-Kingston) made the following statement after the announcement from State Comptroller Justin Wilson about the financial condition of the City of Jellico:

“Under the leadership of Mayor Forster Baird and the City Council, Jellico is once again on the right track, being governed with fiscal responsibility,” said Senator Yager. “I was happy to support their efforts.   Service in local office is sometimes the most thankless, but it also the most rewarding as it has a huge impact on the people of our communities.  I would like to thank our local leaders for their dedication to the values of service, stewardship and commitment during these difficult financial times and for contributing to the development of strategic actions to turn this city around.  I believe Jellico has a bright future.”

 

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Please find a copy of the Comptroller’s release below:

 City of Jellico Improves Financial Condition

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office is pleased to recognize the City of Jellico in Campbell County for the significant progress it has made in improving its financial condition.

When the Comptroller’s Office began working with the city in 2012, the city was experiencing declining revenues, excessive spending, and a former employee had stolen nearly $100,000.

In early 2014, Jellico issued a $850,000 funding bond and used the proceeds to pay off its delinquent obligations and restructure its outstanding debt; however, the city’s overspending continued.

In September 2013, the Comptroller’s Office took the unusual step of requiring Jellico to submit weekly spending requests to the Comptroller for approval. The Comptroller’s Office also worked with the city to develop a balanced budget.

In late 2014, Jellico residents elected a new Mayor and several new City Council members. Since that time, the city has taken substantial steps to control its spending and build cash reserves which can be used to provide services for its citizens.

Earlier this year, Jellico refinanced its funding bond with more favorable terms. This will save Jellico taxpayers more than $500,000 in interest expense and will shorten the city’s debt repayment schedule by five years.

“Jellico residents should be proud of the leadership and resolve that has been demonstrated in this situation,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “It wasn’t long ago that Jellico had one of the worst financial conditions in Tennessee. Now it can be used as an example of what can be achieved when people come together to fix problems and make tough decisions. Well done.”

Although Jellico is no longer subject to weekly monitoring by the Comptroller’s Office, it continues to have a working relationship with the office.

If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, call the Comptroller’s toll-free hotline at (800) 232-5454, or file a report online at: www.comptroller.tn.gov/hotline. Follow us on twitter: @TNCOT

Media contact: John Dunn, Public Information Officer, (615) 401-7755 or [email protected]

Posted in News, Sen. Ken Yager
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