CC Notes – August 9th 2018, Budget Edition
All commissioners were in attendance for the special called meeting for adoption of the County’s new budget for the 2018 – 2019 fiscal year except Jack Davis, who is out of town due to a work obligation, and Roy Turner. The evening began at 6:30 PM with a public hearing to provide an opportunity for comment on the proposed budget. The public hearing was followed by a special called business meeting for budget approval at 7:00 PM.
This year’s Budget Committee members are Tracey Scarbrough, Tom Isham, Rebecca Stone, Terry Lowe, Wendell Wilson, Roy Turner, Sonya Rimmer, and John Patterson. I am a member and the Chairman of the committee. I want to thank those that came to the meetings and worked so hard to get this budget completed. I also want to thank Finance Director Nathan Brock and his staff, especially Jennifer Turner, for all of their work during this process. Creating a new budget is demanding at times and they have worked diligently to fulfill requests from the committee and to answer all of our questions so we could make the best decisions possible for Cumberland County.
As always, the process was long and at times a bit difficult. As has been the case for the past several years, we managed to work together, through agreements and disagreements, and still get along and act in a professional manner. I hope this is a trend that continues.
We began work on the budget back on May 3, 2018 with an all-day budget hearing. Over the next few months, on many Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Budget Committee worked through the entire budget. During that first meeting, which lasted from 8:00 AM until approximately 5:00 PM, the Budget Committee reviewed 20 plus departmental budgets. When the meeting began, the committee agreed to hear capital and personnel requests as each department presented operational budgets. That allowed committee members to take notes and rank those requests. Toward the end of the budget process the requests could then be considered. This would give time to determine available funds after operational budgets were approved. The requests totaled approximately $4.5 million although many were not approved. A partial list of new items that were approved in this budget include:
- A two percent raise for all county employees
- Replacement of Rescue Squad emergency radios
- Restoration of funds to departments for radio replacement cycles
- Four new SROs fully funded for the full budget year
- Five patrol cars for the Sheriff’s Department in the normal replacement rotation
- Two new ambulances for the normal replacement rotation
- One new ambulance and two new AEMT positions for creating a day truck in the ambulance service to help reduce response times
- Two new full-time E-911 dispatch positions (if the City of Crossville agrees to pay half of the cost)
- A new brush truck for the fire department
- Technology upgrades at the jail
- Changed a part-time maintenance employee to full-time
- Changed a part-time General Sessions employee to full-time
- Added an additional employee for the animal shelter
- Moved money from part-time to full-time for library personnel (budget neutral)
The new capital items totaled approximately $1.6 million and will be purchased from both the Debt Service and General Fund Balances, with the majority coming from the Debt Service Fund Balance. This serves to provide for proper cash flow in the early months of the budget, while also staying safely within the confines of the Debt Management Policy. The entire $107.7 million budget is divided with 62% going to the Board of Education, 25% to the County General Fund, 6% to the Debt Fund, 4% to the Highway Department, and 2% to Solid Waste. A General Fund Balance of just over $3,900,000 is projected with this budget. As mentioned previously, this allows a solid base for proper cash flow as well as good reserves for emergency expenses.
At 7:00 PM, the special called business meeting was called to order by Mayor Carey. There were three resolutions on the agenda.
Resolution 08-09-2018-1, fixing the tax levy in Cumberland County for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018, was the first item on the agenda for the special called meeting. The distribution of the proposed rate of $1.5653, the same as last year, was as follows:
|General Purpose School Fund||$0.6100|
|Solid Waste/Sanitation Fund||$0.1207|
|General Debt Service Fund||$0.2225|
In order to manage the various funds, penny allocations changed slightly as $0.0059 was moved from the School Fund to the General Fund. It should be noted that increased revenue estimates still net the Board of Education additional funding over last year. One penny was also moved from the Debt Service Fund to the General Fund to offset new expenses, including the SROs. This move was made possible due to good debt management that resulted in a bond being paid off last year. The resolution passed 15-1 with Commissioner Woody Geisler voting against the motion.
The next resolution, 08-09-2018-2, 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 we have been working on since May. The resolution passed 16-0.
The third resolution was to approve appropriations to the non-profit charitable organizations for Cumberland County. Items like the senior citizens center, Rescue Squad, and Veterans Program are included in this portion of the budget. This includes funding the full request of $4,000 for the Veteran’s Honor Guard that provides military funeral honors to anyone who has served honorably in the armed forces during both peace time and war. These funds are budgeted via contract and require a separate vote. The resolution passed unanimously.
I plan on having the budget posted to my website, http://allenfoster.net, soon, so please check back often if you want to see it. Thank you for allowing me to serve the 4th District and Cumberland County for the past 8 years. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at any time.
Board of Commissioners
4th District Representative