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Elizabethton City Council still waiting for Carter County budget debate

John Thompson • Jul 13, 2018 at 9:05 AM

ELIZABETHTON — While the Elizabethton City Council has already passed the city’s budget for the new fiscal year, the councilmen still had budgets on their minds as they waited for the Carter County Commission to approve its new budget on Monday.

Commissioner Jeff Treadway once again asked about the possibility of levying user fees for Carter County residents who do not live inside the city limits, especially for the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department.

Parks and Recreation Director Mike Mains said new City Manager Daniel Estes was effective in discussing the city’s concerns to the County Commission at its June meeting.

Funding for the city parks was cut from the county budget when the commission’s Budget Committee decided to eliminate funding for the outside agencies the county had traditionally funded, except for those with which the county has a contractural obligation or mandate. The committee also recommended continued funding for volunteer fire departments and the Carter County Rescue Squad.

Treadway said the county used to provide the Elizabethan Fire Department with an equal share of the funding it provides to the county’s seven volunteer fire departments. He said that county funding stopped a few years ago.

In contrast to the county Budget Committee’s recommendation, the City Council has continued its funding outside agencies, although the contributions from the city are more modest.

The council approved the disbursement of the city’s contributions to these agencies during Thursday’s meeting. The total amount of the city contributions is $80,025. Requests from outside agencies to the Carter County Commission is around $1 million. Over half the city’s donations go to the Elizabethton Senior Citizens Center, with $45,000; the Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County receives $14,000; The Shepherd’s Inn domestic violence shelter receives $12,000; the Friends of Sycamore Shoals receive $2,500; the Alzheimer’s Association receives $2,450; the Dawn of Hope and the Second Harvest Food Bank each receive $1,500; and the American Red Cross receives $1,075.

In another donation, the council approved giving away 38 handheld two-way radios that had recently been used by the Elizabethton Police Department and Elizabethton Fire Department. The radios became surplus when the departments upgraded their communications equipment. The radios are Motorola HT750 units and most work and have usable accessories. About four are not working, but could be used to supply parts for the other radios.

Before the meeting, Carter County Emergency Management Agency Director Gary Smith said Elizabethton Police Chief Jason Shaw approached him about the surplus radios. Smith said the radios would be useful in an emergency.

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