Johnson City Press: Carter County Commission expects to approve new budget requiring no tax increase

Carter County Commission expects to approve new budget requiring no tax increase

John Thompson • Jul 13, 2019 at 11:51 PM

ELIZABETHTON — On Monday evening, the Carter County Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposed budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, and for the third consecutive year, its appears Carter County will keep the same property tax rate of $2.47 per $100 of assessed value.

That tax rate is divided into four funds. The largest is the school fund, which receives $1.07223. The County General Fund is next, receiving $1.04877. Third is the county’s debt service, with 21.5 cents. Last is the Highway Department, which receives 13.4 cents.

Among the reasons commissioners gave for keeping costs down and avoiding a tax increase was a decision to hire Sequoyah Group as the county’s insurance broker. It had appeared the county would be facing an increase in its premiums for employee health insurance next year, but the work of Sequoyah and its agent Kelly Geer resulted in a 10 percent decrease by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. That represented a savings of $245,000 for the new fiscal year.

The county school budgets are the largest funds in the county next year, with the total general purpose school fund at $42,102,101.44. The total cafeteria fund is $3,299,097.44. The total Head Start fund is $1,166,399.50.

The next largest fund is the county general fund, which totals $18,127,415.82. The largest portion of this total goes to the Carter County Sheriff’s Department, with $4,691,881.85 and the Carter County Jail, with a total of $3,938,827.97.

The total general debt service fund is $3,493,872.26.

The Highway/Public Works Fund is $5,655,576.56.

The county will also donate $1,030,341 to agencies that are not part of the county government. The largest percentage of these donations go to the volunteer fire departments that serve the county. The total donations for the volunteer firefighters is $440,000. The second-largest donation goes to the Carter County Rescue Squad, with a donation of $272,700.

While not a part of the new year’s budget figures, the county also an increase off $150,000 to $175,000 per year from a new agreement with the city of Elizabethton to accept the city’s garbage in the Carter County Landfill. The city has hauled its garbage to the Iris Glen Landfill in the past.

That additional revenue probably won’t be seen this year, as the Budget Committee is recommending that a new front loader, costing around $150,000, be purchased to handle the additional load at the landfill.

The Elizabethton City Counci has already unanimously approved the new contract during last Thursday’s meeting and the final step is for the County Commission to approve its agreement Monday night. The contract is for five years, with the option for an additional five years after that.

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