Sheriff’s department may get provisional budget due to failure to show when asked

Published 10:53 pm Monday, April 25, 2022

If representatives of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department didn’t appear at Thursday night’s budget hearing, the department could find its upcoming year’s budget set provisionally.
The budget committee met Monday. However,  Sheriff Dexter Lunceford sent an email asking to postpone the hearing to another week, having already been granted an extension by the committee.
“This committee and commission has been kicked in the teeth from this officeholder,” said Commissioner Brad Johnson. “This is probably due to the elections coming up to be honest.” The sheriff is one of several county offices on the May 3 primary ballot.
Johnson said that this was the first time the sheriff’s department has not had its budget submitted in a timely manner.
Committee vice-chair Aaron Frazier suggested “run with it provisionally” to do the best they could with estimates and then the department could come back and address later.
“If they need to come in and address they can,” said Frazier. “Something provisionally is better than nothing.”
In other department budget reviews, the Carter County School System presented a total proposed 2022-2023 fiscal year budget of just over $43.2 million dollars compared to FY 2021-2022 estimate of just over $45 million – a difference of $61,271.
Highlights of the budget include no retirement incentives for the new fiscal year while ESSER funds are still available for staffing and textbooks.
There also will be a 10% increase in the insurance budget with the possibility that could be dropped an extra percent or two after more negotiation.
Also, with the new TSIS funding, per-student funding in CTE classes could see an increase of $4,500 or more. Current funding levels are $6,280 per student.
Dr. Tracy McAbee, Director of Carter County Schools, also advised the committee of  $100 million grants that can be sought.  He complimented Carter County Finance Deputy Director Audra Gerty for putting together a very concise budget with extra lines to make the school’s budget very transparent.
In the mayor’s budget review, the committee was told that the new communication director’s budget would be under the mayor’s budget and would eventually have a separate budget.
Under the County Buildings budget, Mayor Patty Woodby said hiring a custodian has been an issue. The main increase in the budget comes from utilities, gas, and software. Finance Director Carolyn Watson said additional cyber security has been put in place to protect the county from cyber attacks.
When asked about the Capital Projects Fund for Buildings, Watson told the committee there was $997,000 in that account.
Watson also provided an update on the Finance Office budget for the new fiscal year stating that everything “is pretty standard” with insurance increasing 15% in the new year.
The next budget hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox