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Carter Budget Committee expected to propose balanced budget requiring no property tax increase

John Thompson • May 7, 2019 at 4:12 PM

ELIZABETHTON —The Carter County Commission’s Budget Committee completed its work Monday night on building a proposed budget for the county government for the 2019-20 fiscal year. The proposed budget for the General Fund is $18,117,087

The General Fund portion of the budget is balanced and will not require an increase in the property tax rate. Local taxes are projected to generate $11,242,775. All other sources of revenue added to the local taxes are expected to total $18,211,600. Subtracting the proposed budget from the total revenue leaves the county with a surplus of $13,644. The projected total fund balance is $8,710,318, which is up substantially from the county’s fund balance on July 1, 2016, when it was $4,520,873.

The Budget Committee was able to finish its work with a small surplus after a lengthy session on Monday night, in which it made several last-minute cuts to next year’s budget.

One of those was a proposal to cut in half the county’s contribution to the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership. This year, the county provided $40,000 to the economic development organization that provides regional economic development support for Carter, Unicoi and Washington counties. The Budget Committee proposes to provide only $20,000 from Carter County to NeTREP next year, but will listen to comments from NeTREP CEO Mitch Miller before the final decision is made next Monday. NeTREP asked Carter County to maintain its budget at $40,000 next year.

The Budget Committee made several other cuts to requested increases. It said no to a recommendation from the Carter County Planning Commission, which proposed increases for several members of the Planning Department staff. The reason the planners said they recommended the increases was because the Planning Department had taken over the county’s economic development responsibilities and tasks.

This was part of the county’s preference to give Carter County employees an across-the-board pay increase of 3 percent.

The committee also reduced the budget request of the county’s Parks and Recreation group to fund a series of projects. The cuts reduced the Parks and Rec budget request from $161,576 to $100,000.

The Budget Committee is will vote on the proposed budget following the discussions and a regular committee meeting next Monday. If the committee votes in favor of the budget, it will be introduced to the county in a public hearing. The Budget Committee would then recommend the budget for adoption during the July meeting of the Carter County Commission.

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