Carter County Commission sets budget workshops

Published 12:11 am Saturday, May 2, 2015

Budget season for the Carter County Commission kicks off Monday and several budget workshops and meetings are scheduled throughout the month.
The first budget workshop will be held Monday, May 4, at 6 p.m. at the Carter County Courthouse. During this workshop session, members of the budget committee will hear and consider funding requests from outside agencies as well as the county’s solid waste fund which covers landfill and recycling center operations.
Among the outside agencies presenting budget requests on Monday will be Carter County Tomorrow and the Carter County Rescue Squad.
During the March meeting of the full Commission, Commissioner Robert Gobble made a motion for the county to withdraw its funding from Carter County Tomorrow, citing what he called “a lack of results.”
Several commissioners echoed Gobble’s concern while others spoke in defense of CCT and the work it does. The Commission ultimately voted to refer the agency’s funding to the budget committee for consideration in the 2015-16 budget cycle since funding for the current fiscal year was already in place.
The committee will also hear from the Carter County Rescue Squad on Monday, which is requesting $387,000 in additional funding from the county for the upcoming fiscal year.
During the April meeting of the Financial Management Committee, CCRS Director Terry Arnold and CCRS Board Chairman Sam Shipley said if additional funding is not received, the agency may have to sell out to a private company.
“We’re in dire straights financially,” Shipley said. “It’s not because of mismanagement or mishandling of any funds; it’s because of the cuts we’ve received.”
About 10 years ago, the Rescue Squad began facing cuts and decreases in funding, Arnold said. The cuts came from several sources – local governments lowered funding as they faced their own financial situations, the federal government began lowering Medicare reimbursement payments and private insurance companies also began decreasing their payments.
The May 4 workshop will also cover outside agencies such as the volunteer fire departments, Carter County 911 and forensic services from East Tennessee State University.
The second hearing will be held on Thursday, May 7 at 6 p.m. at the courthouse. On that night, committee members will discuss funding for the Carter County Health Department, the county’s general fund and tax relief. The general fund covers most of the county’s offices and services, such as the sheriff’s department, clerk’s offices and planning department.
On Monday, May 11, the committee will hold their third workshop at 6 p.m. at the courthouse. This workshop will cover budgets for the highway department and school system, as well as funding for the county’s debt service.
The committee will also hold its regular monthly business meeting on May 11.
An additional meeting time of 6 p.m. on May 21 was set aside for a potential workshop or hearing on the budget, and May 28 has been designated as the budget voting meeting.

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