Commissioners Kick Budget Can Down The Road

It will take something "special" to happen before the Cannon County Commission approves the budget for the Fiscal Year 2011-2012.

Faced with having to approve a 20-cent increase in the property tax rate to fund the budget as proposed at Saturday's quarterly meeting of the commission, commissioners tabled action on approving appropriations for the current fiscal year, which began July 1, and by extension tabled setting the tax rate.

The county will continuing operating under last year's budget.

The commission's Budget Committee will meet again to review the proposed budget to determine if any additonal cuts can be made. During 12 budget committee meetings over the last three months, the committee trimmed over $475,000 from requested expenditures.

No date was set Saturday for the budget committee to meet. When the committee finishes its work again, the county commission will be called into special session to consider its recommendations. It is anticpated the special session will be called in early-to-mid August.

Commissioners Mark Barker, Kevin George and Clint Higgins serve on the budget committee.

George said he wanted to wait and see what more of the final numbers on expenditures for the FY2010-2011 will be before voting on appropriations for the current year. Those numbers are expected to be available in the next two to three weeks.

None of the 10 commissioners at Saturday's meeting indicated where they thought cuts could be made in expenditures.

Total county expenditures for 2011-2012, including schools, is estimated at $11,580,855. Revenue is projected to be $11,460,248.

The proposed tax rate the commissioners took no action on would have raised the amount from $2.32 on each $100 of taxable property to $2.52. An additional 20 cents would bring in around $400,000 in revenue.

While the commissioners took no action on the budget Saturday, they did on other matters:

• Approved Resolution 2011-4, the establishment of an Audit Committee. While approval was given for the formation of the committee, no action was taken on naming members.

• Approved Resolution 2011-1, to remove law enforcement powers of the Office of Constable in Cannon County. Although the resolution was approved on second and final reading, by the required two-thirds vote of the commission, a recently passed state law allows current constables to keep the powers until the end of their terms, in 2014.

• Took no action on a resolution to contract with the Upper Cumberland Development District to provide local planning advisory services.

• Approved Sheriff Darrell Young's request to accept a Justice Assistance Grant from the State of Tennessee in the amount of $18,750 to be used for the purchase of a new Live Scan (fingerprint) Machine.

• Filled a vacancy on the Industrial Development Board by naming Randy Barrett, owner of Joe's Place Restaurant, to the position.

(See the July 26 edition of The Cannon Courier for additional coverage of Saturday's meeting)