Committee to begin discussing county budget Thursday evening

Published 4:53 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Thursday evening, members of the Carter County Budget Committee will begin discussing funding for the county’s various departments and agencies for the upcoming fiscal year.

The group’s meeting Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the Carter County Courthouse follows several budget hearings where elected officials, department heads, and outside agencies presented their requests for funding to the committee.

While no votes can be taken during this meeting, the committee members can discuss budget requests and suggest revisions to County Finance Director Christa Byrd for when she presents the budget to the group at the voting meeting, which is set for Monday, May 22.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The committee has not asked for anyone to be present at the meeting to answer questions or to make changes to their request. Many of the office holders or department hands are expected to be in attendance in case the committee has questions regarding their budgets.

Committee members will have much to discuss when considering the budget this year.

The county will see an increase of 8.65 percent in the cost of the health insurance for county employees. Several departments have also made requests for raises for their employees ranging from 1-5 percent.

Overall, the requests from the officials and department heads totaled $585,467.89 in increased funding for the county’s General Fund budget over last year’s allocations.

The county also received requests for increased funding for the Highway Department and the Carter County School System, which are not covered under the county’s General Budget.

In recent years, the County Commission has not fully funded the budget requests from the Highway Department, which has caused the department to dip into their fund balance in order to balance their budget while still providing needed services to the county residents.

The school system is seeking additional revenue from the county this year to fund an additional School Resource Officer position, bringing the total number of SROs up to 15 officers to serve the county’s 15 schools.

The county also provides funding to outside agencies which provide services for county residents, such as the Carter County Rescue Squad, the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library, the county’s seven Volunteer Fire Departments, the First Tennessee Human Resources Agency, and The Shepherd’s Inn to name a few. While some of those agencies requested the same level of funding as last year, some requested additional funds over last year’s allocations.

The total amount of funds sought by the outside agencies for the 2017-18 fiscal year is $1,253,993.04 — which is an increase of $250,657.83 over last year’s funding levels and includes a request by an outside agency not previously funded by the county.