Carter County Commission discusses fiscal budget for 2020-2021

Published 2:30 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2020

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Carter County’s Commission regularly-scheduled meeting for the month of July took place via ZOOM on Monday night.
The meeting consisted of discussions on the annual fiscal budget for 2020-2021.
Among the resolutions passed involved one that continued the narrative addressing the county’s homeless population.
Commissioner Robert Acuff has been working against this issue in the county since it was revealed earlier this year that one of the only known shelters in the area would no longer be accepting overnight stays.
Since then, Acuff has been in contact with people from the KARM organization in assistance to create a task force to address this problem. Monday night’s resolution approved this, with a goal to have Pastor Brandon Young from Harmony Free Will Baptist Church run the group.
Among resolutions that prompted discussion and revisions included funding of the Butler Fire Department, which was, prior to the discussion, set to be zero.
Firemen from this department had aided in some Carter County calls and were asking for funding. From this, prior to the meeting, rumors had swirled that without this funding, the department would no longer aid Carter County in calls.
The department’s chief joined the ZOOM call to dispel those rumors, noting that it was spread by a dispatcher who has been reprimanded for doing so.
Additionally, he informed the commissioners that some residents had requested Butler as their primary fire department for insurance reasons.
Following discussion, the board approved giving Butler three thousand dollars.
As the meeting continued, it was revealed that Finance Director, Brad Burke, had turned in his letter of resignation set for Sept. 11 in part due to an extensive workload.
It was revealed he often works long hours, even bringing work home on the weekends.
The need was brought up for two additional employees for the department, an HR person and an accountant. This led to a heated discussion on Burke’s workload and staffing of departments.
“We’ve heard testimony of the amount of work being carried home on weekends, and Mr. Burke I commend you for that, but I have to ask, how many of the Financial Department staff are also carrying home work to complete after hours on weekends in addition to yourself?” asked Commissioner Mike Hill.
To this, Burke responded that he would not ask employees to work past regular hours, nor would he have them work seven days a week as he has sometimes done. He said the overall workload and amount of hours worked varied with his employees.
The motion for two employees for the department was approved.
Other approvals included the Planning Commission Budget.
The Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System, or TCRS, was revised from 3.9 percent (the minimum requirement for this year) to 8 percent. The decision was to use a near 1.2 million dollar state grant to offset the 8 percent TCRS cost of around 1 million (numbers not exact).
After discussions and resolutions were met, Mayor Rusty Barnett took to the floor to dispel social media rumors regarding COVID cases in the courthouse, noting that he had even cleaned areas himself since the news broke.
Additionally, a discovery call meeting will be held at the end of the week via ZOOM to share information regarding Tennessee Broadband and accessibility to grants.

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