Budget Committee Ponders Property Tax Hike

Could there be a 5 or 10 cent increase in property taxes as a way to raise revenue? That's one of the ideas the Cannon County Budget Committee came up with Thursday night in order to raise County revenue.

After looking at the estimated ending fund balance of $14,714 for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, Chairman Mark Barker asked the committee if felt like they had been doing their job if they let the fund balance run down to $14,000.00 or should the committee address it here one year in advance and adjust the revenues some more.

Committee member James Adkins said, "I think that we're down to the point that any more cuts will cause the people here in Cannon County to hurt."

Barker added, "People want some amount of services, but they don't want extra services."

Barker then asked if there was any more cuts that could be made. The Pool and Community Center was mentioned as a possible cut, but after pointing out that it was a service to the community, it was decided that it just needs to be evaluated as to the hours they are open, and establish what the usage fee is for the public and adjust accordingly to get a better balance.

Raising the property tax 5 cents would bring in an additional $100,000 in revenue.

The ambulance service was mentioned as a concern. The two main issues with the Ambulance Service is the mileage costs that are billed to Medicare, and the number of calls the Ambulance Service is used is less than in other counties.

The Committee then looked at the Solid Waste Sanitation Department Budget.

Estimated Revenues through total local taxes came out to $396,865.00. Total Charges For Current Services totaled $18,500.00.  Solid Waste Grants for Waste Tires will be $2900 with total monies from other government and citizens groups at $50,000, bringing the overall total estimated revenues at $468,265.00.

Estimated Expenditures for the 2011-2012 fiscal year is $519,292, which means the County will be in the negative of $51,027.00.

County Executive Mike Gannon will look at Solid Waste and see what changes can be made.

The Cannon County Budget Committee will meet again on Tuesday at 6:00 at the Cannon County Courthouse to review the budget of the School System.

They will also meet Thursday of next week to make up their minds on what they are going to reccommend to the Cannon County Commission.  

Chairman Barker said that he appreciated the Committee's work on trimming the budget.

"It wasn't easy," he said, "but we've got it trimmed down for what I feel like it's the best we can do."

Barker asked the committee to be thinking within the next week what they can recommend to fund the budget.

The final act of the evening had the committee putting the funding back in the budget for the extra two guards requested in the jail department of the Cannon County Sheriff's Office.