Commission to tackle full agenda on Monday

Published 4:38 pm Friday, March 16, 2018

Members of the Carter County Commission will tackle several resolutions when the group meets on Monday, including one asking state elected officials to relieve the county of the burden caused by unfunded, state-mandated expenditures.

Each year during the budget process, members of the Commission work to find enough funding to cover all of the county’s expenditures, and nearly every year the county must provide funding for expenditures required by the state government but not funded by the state.

During the meeting on Monday, the Commission will consider a resolution forwarded to the full group by the Budget Committee asking Carter County’s representatives to the Tennessee General Assembly to “investigate and reject” any legislation that places new financial burdens on counties without providing a mechanism to fund those obligations. The resolution also asks the state elected officials to support legislation that would relieve or reduce the financial burden upon the counties for funding of annual mandated increases in the salaries of certain elected or appointed officials.

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“Each year new legislation is proposed before the Tennessee General Assembly, and while the proposed legislation potentially provides desirable benefits, the fiscal cost to county governments is rarely considered, and if the potential legislation is passed, it results in a significant financial burden on Tennessee counties,” the resolution states.

The resolution states that counties have scarce and limited resources and unfunded state mandates create “undue hardships” on local governments and impair the county’s ability to provide essential services for its citizens.

“Of particular concern to the Board of County Commissioners for Carter County is the ongoing unfunded state mandate which requires increases in the salaries of various county elected and appointed officials nearly every year,” the resolution states. “Since its inception, said mandate has resulted in significant salary increases over the years for the applicable elected and/or appointed county officials while rendering counties such as Carter County unable to fund each office in such a manner as to account for the mandated increase in salary for the officeholder and also permit equitable pay increases for the actual county employees working in each office.”

Another resolution up for consideration during Monday’s meeting of the full Commission will ask the Tennessee Department of Transportation and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to work with county officials to create a new boat launch on the Watauga River as part of the construction project to replace Smalling Bridge on Smalling Road. TDOT is currently in the planning process for the bridge replacement project.

“The Carter County Highway Department has learned that it may be possible for TDOT officials, working in conjunction with officials of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, to incorporate additional right of way acquisition, engineering, design, and environmental reviews within the current plans to enable the construction/installation of a ‘park and float’ access point for Watauga River,” the resolution states.

The Commission will also consider a resolution granting Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey authority to apply for HOME grant funds through the Tennessee Housing Development Agency to help finance home repairs for low-income residents.

Elizabethton Interim City Manager Jon Hartman will address the Commission regarding approval of the proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the Watauga River Redevelopment Area.

The Carter County Commission will meet on Monday, March 19, at 6 p.m., in the courtroom located on the second floor of the Carter County Courthouse. Prior to the meeting, at 5 p.m., Humphrey will present the Hometown Hero Awards.