ELIZABETHTON — Although many local charities and other organizations have seen a large drop in donations and other expected revenue as a result of the quarantine and other impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), there have been no large increases in funding from the Carter County government to make up for the declines.
When people began to realize that COVID-19 would be a pandemic, some county commissioners wondered how it would affect the county’s revenues. The answer is that requests for increased funding have been modest.
This year the Carter County Commission has donated a total of $1,030,341 to these charities and other organizations not directly connected to government. These agencies have asked for increases in the 2020-21 fiscal year that total $177,903.
If the County Commission were to approve all of the increases, that would mean the total contribution to all outside agencies and other organizations would be $1,208,244.
More than $100,000 of the requested increases is coming from fire departments.
The biggest single increase would go to the Elizabethton Fire Department. Most of the revenue from this professional firefighting organization comes from the Elizabethton City Council. But, since residents of the city pay both city and county property taxes and the city is responsible for the lion’s share of commercial and industrial property, the city is seeking $55,000 for its fire department from the county.
The next largest request is also from firefighters, but these requests are from the volunteer fire departments. David Jones, chief of the West Carter County Volunteer Fire Department said each of the county’s seven fire departments have had to buy a fire truck in the past few years. The departments are jointly requesting $5,000 each, for a total increase of $35,000.
A third request came from the Butler Volunteer Fire Department, a Johnson County organization, but one which is responsible for a lot of residences on the Carter County side of Butler, including homes and property on Watauga Lake. The department is seeking a return to the amount that had formerly been funded to the organization, That would be a $15,000 increase, from $5,000 to $20,000.