Commissioners hosting Town Hall to talk budget, other issues

Published 9:31 am Thursday, May 25, 2017

County Commissioners from the county’s 1st District will host a special Town Hall meeting Saturday morning to answer questions from constituents and discuss the county’s proposed budget for next fiscal year.

The Town Hall meeting will take place on Saturday at 9 a.m. at Unaka Elementary School, located at 120 Unaka Drive. Commissioners Dr. Robert Acuff, Buford Peters, and Willie Campbell will be on hand to answer questions and provide updates on county issues.

“I think we will have a good turnout,” said Acuff. “A lot of people have questions about the animal shelter, about the budget, and also the 4-cent property tax increase.”

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Acuff said he had requested copies of the budget proposal approved earlier this week by the Budget Committee so that citizens can review them and ask questions during the meeting Saturday morning.

Acuff said one of the other matters he anticipates discussing if funding for the Carter County Highway Department, which has been operating at a deficit for several years. The department has had to balance its budget by taking large amounts of money from its fund balance, which is approaching critical state.

The Commissioners will also discuss funding approved to provide a 1 percent raise to all county employees and all para-professional employees of the county’s school system.

Since 2014, Acuff, Peters, and Campbell have hosted several Town Hall meetings to hear from their constituents. While the three commissioners tend to focus on feedback from residents within the 1st District, Acuff said with so many major issues facing the county he and his colleagues understand there are individuals across the county who have questions they would like answered.

“It’s open to all county citizens,” Acuff said of the meeting. “You don’t have to be a resident of Stoney Creek to attend or ask questions.”

With so many issues that could prove controversial, Acuff said this meeting will work a little differently than some meetings in the past in order to try to keep it running smoothly.

“It is our plan to have a moderator there to keep the meeting going forward and to ensure everyone has a chance to ask their questions,” Acuff said.

Originally, the commissioners planned to host Elizabethton Municipal Airport Director Dan Cogan at the meeting to discuss the status of the airport expansion project and as well as other airport matters. However, Acuff said, Cogan will not be able to attend Saturday’s event due to a scheduling conflict. Acuff said he hopes to schedule a special meeting in the future to allow residents to hear from Cogan and ask him questions.