Planning Commission’s second budget proposal fails during Budget Committee meeting

The Carter County Budget Committee had one item on its agenda during its Monday evening meeting, but a failed vote led to a discussion on what the two parties even wanted out of the Planning Commission.

The Budget Committee recently voted against the Planning Commission’s initial budget proposal during its Voting Meeting two weeks ago, forcing the commission to come back Monday with a new, revised budget.

This one failed again, this time with a 2-6 vote.

The debate came down to worker pay. The Planning Commission approved a combined salary increase for county employees by a total of roughly $89,000 during its May 28 meeting.

The Planning Commission cited increased duties and responsibilities that warranted the increase.

“Additional workloads added to the Planning Department, such as project managers for all county building projects and managing economic and community development opportunities merits all increases in salaries, equipment and other expenditures,” Planning Commission Chairman Jerry Pearman said in a letter.

The committee discussed ways of resolving what has become a point of contention as to what the county is willing to pay for the Planning Commission’s service to the county.

Garland said the budgeted amount the Planning Commission provided did not actually mark a decrease in spending. Rather, it moved numbers around.

“I honestly do not know what to recommend,” Garland said. “We are talking about placing this stuff in his office, added responsibilities, economic development, which we are trying to pursue through his office, […] without them providing that, I do not know who plans to do that, or where we want to cut funding for an important matter as that.”

The committee did discuss the possibility of hiring someone to assume those responsibilities so the Planning Commission does not have to, a conversation on the heels of Carter County Tomorrow’s future dissolution.

The committee said Director Chris Schuettler’s department has done well in its enlarged responsibilities, but that alone was not enough justification.

“He is not the only department who does a great job,” Commissioner Patty Woodby said.

As of now, the Planning Commission must take another look at its budget during a special meeting on Monday, June 17, at 3 p.m., right before the County Commission meeting.

The Budget Committee will then have another meeting on Tuesday, June 18, at 6 p.m. to potentially approve the Planning Commission’s third budget proposal.

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