County Mayor’s Notes – August 5th, 2019 Budget Edition

All commissioners were in attendance for the special called meeting for adoption of the County’s new budget for the 2019 – 2020 fiscal year except Deborah Holbrook.  The evening began at 5:30 PM with a public hearing to provide an opportunity for comment on the proposed budget.  The budget, as prepared by the Budget Committee, was presented by Budget Committee Chairman Rebecca Stone and Finance Director Nathan Brock.  Comments from the public were then heard with two people speaking in favor of the budget.

The current Budget Committee members are Sue York, Nancy Hyder, Rebecca Stone (Chairman), Charles Seiber, Terry Lowe, Wendell Wilson, Jerry Cooper, Jim Blalock, and John Patterson.  The budget process began with an all-day session of budget hearings on May 5th and continued with several more meetings through July.

The property tax rate will remain the same, $1.5653, for this budget year.  The $110.3 million budget highlights include:

  • $59.2 for the Board of Education
  • Two percent raise for all employees, full and part time
  • Funding for an updated wage study
  • Three new Sheriff department deputies with all associated expenses, including vehicles
  • Two additional EMTs for the Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance, allowing it to go to 16-hour shifts, seven days a week.
  • A new employee for the County Clerk’s office
  • Part time help at the Animal Shelter and Library
  • $1.4 million spent in capital expenditures
    • Five replacement vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department
    • 82 SCBA air tanks for the Fire Department
    • Windows and gutters for the courthouse, as well as cleaning
    • Election Poll Pads for the Election Commission
    • HVAC Units
    • EMS parking lot repair
    • Maintenance and repairs at the Community Complex

The Special Called Session of the full County Commission was called to order at 6:00 PM.  There were three resolutions on the agenda.  I began the meeting with a moment of silence for the passing of former Commissioner Harry Sabine as well as for Sally Mayberry, the mother of Crossville Mayor James Mayberry.

Resolutions
Resolution 08-05-2019-1, fixing the tax levy in Cumberland County for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019, was the first item on the agenda for the special called meeting.  The distribution of the proposed rate of $1.5653 was as follows:

Fund Pennies Allocated
General Fund $0.6411
General Purpose School Fund $0.5410
Solid Waste/Sanitation Fund $0.1407
General Debt Service Fund $0.2425
Total $1.5653

The resolution passed 16-0.

The next resolution, 08-05-2019-2, was to make the actual appropriations to the various funds, departments, institutions, offices and agencies of Cumberland County.  In other words, the resolution was to approve the budget document that has been worked on since May.  An amendment was made by Commissioner Blalock and seconded by Commissioner Patterson requesting an additional $100,000 be given to the Sheriff’s Department for overtime (OT). The budget already contained $60,000 for deputy OT and $20,000 for jail OT.  Sheriff Cox had originally asked for the three deputies plus $80,000 in OT for deputies and $40,000 for OT for the jail.  The amendment would have resulted in the total for OT being $180,000.  The amendment to the resolution failed 6-8-2, with commissioners Threet, Jack Davis, Blalock, MacLeod, Patterson, and Kyle Davis voting to approve, and with Commissioners Norris and Gibson declaring a conflict and abstaining as they work in the Sheriff’s Department. That turned the vote back to the original motion that passed 14-2 with Blalock and Patterson voting against.

The third resolution was to approve appropriations to the non-profit charitable organizations for Cumberland County.  Items like the senior citizens center, Rescue Squad, Chamber of Commerce, Veterans Honor Guard, and the Young Marines are included in this portion of the budget.  These funds are budgeted via contract and require a separate vote.  The resolution passed 16-0.

The budget will soon be posted on the county website, www.cumberlandcountytn.gov, if you are interested in viewing the entire document.

Thank you for allowing me the honor of serving as your County Mayor.  It is a privilege.  If you are interested, you can subscribe to my County Mayor newsletter by clicking here: http://eepurl.com/c_Zx-L.

Sincerely
Allen Foster
Cumberland County Mayor
http://allenfoster.net

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