2015-16 budget prep begins

Published 9:26 am Thursday, March 5, 2015

Though July is still months away, the Carter County Finance Department is already busy working on developing the county’s 2015-16 budget.

The budget process typically begins around the first of February, County Finance Director Ingrid Deloach said. At that time, notifications are sent to all of the outside agencies that receive funding from Carter County asking that they prepare and submit their requests for the fiscal year within two weeks.

“They have already been turned in,” Deloach said on Wednesday.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The next step is asking all of the county departments to submit their budget requests. That is typically done during the second week of March, Deloach said, adding it is a bit behind schedule this year.

“With our transition to the new software, I was waiting to see if those requests could be done through the program, but they can’t,” Deloach said, adding she hoped to send the requests out in paper form to the departments Wednesday afternoon. The department heads and elected officials then would have two weeks to prepare and submit their requests.

Once all the requests are in, Deloach said she and her staff will begin working to input all the requests and draft a proposed budget to give to the budget committee of the Carter County Commission.

“I usually try to give it to them during the April meeting so they have time to look it over and see if they have any questions,” Deloach said.

Then, during the first week of May, the budget workshops begin for the committee. “We usually have two a week in May,” Deloach said, adding workshop sessions can carry on into June as the committee hammers out the budget. “Hopefully, if all goes as planned, we wont’ have to have any workshops in June, just the public hearing on the budget.”

Once the budget committee works out a budget to send to the full commission, it must first go through a public hearing to allow citizens a chance to speak on the budget.

After the public hearing, the budget is then presented to the full County Commission for a vote.

“It’s so hard when you start in February because you don’t know a lot of things,” she said. When the budget process begins, Deloach said the county has no information regarding state Basic Education Program (BEP) will look like for the coming fiscal year and no information regarding insurance rates for county or school employees.

While it is hard to start so early, Deloach said it is also necessary because it takes a lot of time to process all of the requests and get the necessary information to draft a proposed budget.

But, as the process goes on she said, that information begins to come in. Usually near the end of March or in early April the county has information on the county employee insurance rate.

Then in late May or early June predicted costs come in for the school employees insurance.

“Usually April is when we get a lot of information,” Deloach said, adding the missing information is plugged into the budget as her office receives it.

Below is the schedule for budget workshops for the 2015-16 fiscal year budget:

τ May 4, Solid Waste and Outside Agencies hearing

τ May 7, Health Department, General Fund and Tax Relief hearing

τ May 11, Debt Service, Highway Department and Education hearing as well as regularly scheduled monthly meeting

τ May 21, open date for potential hearing or workshop meeting.