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Carter Budget Committee hears requests from outside agencies

John Thompson • Apr 2, 2018 at 11:58 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The Budget Committee of the Carter County Commission met Monday afternoon to begin the process of working out a proposed budget for next year.

The committee began its work by holding a hearing for all the agencies that are not a part of the county government that receive funding from the County Commission. The committee also heard from Carter County Landfill Director Benny Lyons on the budget for the landfill, the recycling efforts and the convenience stations in Butler and Roan Mountain.

There were 20 “outside” organizations which have made requests this year. The total amount requested from all agencies is $1,182,397.04. That is $167,845.77 higher than the $1,014,551.27 that the county is contributing this year.

The largest increase in the requested amount from last year is coming from the Carter County fire departments. The funding request for the year is $400,000. That is a $46,500 increase from this year.

David Jones, president of the Carter County Volunteer Firefighters Association, said there are seven independent volunteer fire departments in the county. Since there are seven independent departments receiving the funding, Jones said the county’s total annual contribution for each of the departments will be $57,142.86.

Jones said the departments’ total request includes $15,000 the county has annually given to cover matching funds for any state or federal grant that any of the departments receive. Jones asked the committee to amend that part of the county’s donation to cover grants and also training opportunities.

Combined, the fire departments represent a large enterprise. Jones told the committee that the seven departments have 11 fire stations and between 130 and 140 members. He said there are 13 front-line fire engines, with an average age of 15 years old.

Committee member Robert Acuff expressed appreciation for the work the volunteer fire department has done in the past year, especially in fighting the fires to Barnett’s Rifle Range in Hampton and the county-owned garage in the Carter County Landfill.

The next largest request came from the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library. It is requesting $100,000 from the county next year. That represents an increase of $39,400 from the amount it is receiving this year, $60,600.

The requests from the “outside” agencies include $25,000 in new funding for two agencies that have not received any funding from the county before. These requests are $20,000 from Kids Like Us Community Learning Center and $5,000 from the Recovery Soldiers Ministry.

The Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department is requesting funding of $25,000 next year. That represents a funding increase of $13,605.94. This year, the department receives $11,394.06 from the county.

Both the increases for the library and the city parks are requested in part because the majority of users are county residents.

The next largest increase comes from the William L. Jenkins Forensic Center at East Tennessee State University. This center conducts autopsies for the county. The center is requesting $124,681.04 for next year. That represents an increase of $11,078 from the current year’s contribution of $113,603.04.

The Elizabethan Senior Citizens Center had the next-largest request for an increase. It asked for $23,000. That represents an increase of $8,415.60 from the county’s contribution this year, which is $14,584.40.

The Vocational Rehabilitation Center in Elizabethton is seeking an increase to $27,809. That is $6,874.73 more than the center receives this year, which is $20,934.27.

The Elizabethton/Carter County Boys & Girls Club is requesting and increase to $16,000. That is a $6,405 increase from this year, which is $9,595.

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