County to hold public hearing on 2015-16 budget

Published 5:45 pm Saturday, July 11, 2015

County Budget Graphic
On Monday evening, Carter County residents will have the chance to speak out on the county’s proposed budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year.
A public hearing on the proposed budget allocations will be held at 6 p.m. Monday in the courtroom on the second floor of the Carter County Courthouse.
The proposed budget has no tax increase for county residents as the property tax was once again set at $2.45 per $100 of assessed value.
Some changes were made to the budget, however. During the 2014-15 fiscal year, the budget was amended to take 10 cents of the tax allocation and move it over to the debt service allocation to try to balance a deficit of more than $800,000 in that fund. This year, the committee shifted that 10 cents back to the General Fund, which would set the portion of the tax rate allocated to debt service at 24 1/2 cents.
Several county departments and outside agencies requested increased funding this year but the majority of those requests were denied by the Budget Committee over the course of several workshop sessions and meetings. Some of the budget requests were sent back to the department heads and elected officials to be reworked and re-presented.
The committee sent the Highway Department budget back to Road Superintendent Roger Colbaugh twice to be reworked before finally accepting his budget proposal. Colbaugh’s budget calls for $632,000 to come from the department’s fund balance in order to cover all of the department’s expenditures. If the committee had not approved the money to come from the fund balance, the department would have had to cut personnel and services or the county would have had to add 8 cents to the tax rate, Colbaugh said.
The only outside agency to receive an increase in funding was East Tennessee State University’s Pathology Services, which was an agreed upon increase as part of the contract between county and the university for forensic services.
After the budget goes through the public hearing, it will be presented to the full County Commission during its monthly meeting on July 20 at 9 a.m.

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