The Budget Committee has been working on the budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year. Monday night was the last scheduled workshop on the budget before the committee takes a vote on the proposed budget next Monday. If the committee approves a budget, a public hearing will be held and it will be recommended to the full Carter County Commission.
Late Monday evening, the committee was still attempting to balance the budget by making cuts to some funding requests. At press time, the budget was still $121,517 from balanced.
One agency could see a cut in order to balance the budget. The Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership received $40,000 from Carter County this year, but the commission agreed to lower the funding to half that amount next year, pending an appearance by NETREP CEO Mitch Miller before the Budget Committee before the vote on the budget is taken.
NETREP had asked for the same $40,000 contribution from Carter County next year, but some on the Budget Committee were upset that no one from the agency appeared before the committee to answer questions about its accomplishments for the county.
Carter County Commissioner Brad Johnson is not a member of the Budget Committee, but asked what NETREP has accomplished for Carter County. He said recent economic development successes as the upcoming expansion of the Snap-on Tools plant and the A.Y. McDonald plant were the result of local efforts by county leaders.
Carter County Mayor Rusty Barnett took a different stand. “We need regionalism,” Barnett told the commissioners. He said it was important that economic developers in other counties “are putting our name out there.”
The Budget Committee also looked to trim the budget requests of the Carter County Planning Commission and the Carter County Parks and Recreation Board. The Planning Commission has recently assumed extra duties with economic development and was seeking additional pay because of the heavier work load. Some Budget Committee members said it was not fair to give some county employees a larger pay increase than others.
The Parks and Recreation Board had several projects, including plans to develop at the new park near the recently constructed Mary Patton Highway. That park would be developed jointly with the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department.