Budget Committee Hears From Foster, Melton

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County budget meetings continued Thursday evening at the courthouse with the budget committee reviewing the budget requests from the Circuit Court Clerk Lynne Foster and Judge Susan Melton.

Those present for the meeting were Bill Jennings, Greg Mitchell, and Mark Barker. County Executive Mike Gannon and financial secretary Diane Hickman were on hand. A good number of new candidates for offices were also present and a large contingent of library supporters and commissioners were present.

Concerning Clerk Lynne Foster‘s budget, she had asked for more money for the Jury and Witness fees. She advised the committee that she has several big trials coming up this next year and is preparing the budget to cover any cost it takes to for those hearings

Judge Melton is over the General Sessions Court, Juvenile Court and the Judicial Commissioners.

Pertaining to the budget for the General Sessions Court there is a slight increase due to the mandatory raising of the State Retirement. The State of Tennessee has the final say on how much to pay into the State’s retirement system, otherwise Judge Melton’s budget did not increase.

Her other costs to run the department are almost in line with last year's budget.

Next budget to consider was the Juvenile Court. The budget for this next year was only 940.00 higher than last year’s budget.

Next was the Judges Judicial Commissioners, their budget overall was less than a thousand dollars higher than last year due to travel, social security and in-service training rates being higher. The budget committee thanked her for keeping her budgets inline.

Next budget to consider was the Ambulance Department. Director Ricky Cope addressed the budget committee and presented his budget. Cope is asking for four more employees and a new box to go on an ambulance. He currently has two ambulances which are a 2006 and a 2008 with relatively low mileage and a third one which they use to go out of the county with approximately 118,000 miles on it. The request for more transfers out of the county is getting higher and the emergency runs have increased a great percentage.

The box would be out of Capital outlay and his budget is calling for a difference of $142,273.00 due to the manpower request. The ambulance service always turns back money into the county general fund each year. This year he estimates that it will be $500,000.

Fifth District Commissioner Kevin Mooneyham suggests that a certain percentage of the returned money each year go into a separate line item that would build up over the years and would allow the service to purchase the boxes for the future. An ambulance is updated or replaced about every seven years.

Next for the budget committee was the Adams Memorial Library. Head Librarian Rita Allen presented the budget with an increase of approximately $6,000.00. The raise in the budget is to bring the assistants up to standard on pay for the positions that they hold. Her budget had made some sacrifices from last year as some items had been cut to offset the monies she is asking for in raises for the employees. Her pay is the same as last year.

Allen had told the committee that when the library is expanded in the next couple of years she will have to hire more people, perhaps double the employees. Even though Mrs. Allen is asking for a $12,000 increase in salaries it only brings up the total of her budget by approximately $5,000.

Austin Jennings stood and addressed the committee to remind them that there are several different places that contribute to the library building and the fund to keep the library running. These different funds and associations deal in the building and maintenance and that the county only provides a small part in keeping this library as one of the best small town libraries in the state.

Next on the budget was the Parks and Recreation Department (Community Center). Director Estel Parker handed in his budget that had actually dropped by $1,627. Needless to say the committee was grateful to him for keeping the cost down and maintaining a good family orientated atmosphere. Estel was in and out in a matter of minutes.

The next meeting will be Thursday the 6th of May at 6: 00 pm at the courthouse courtroom when they will be discussing the Fire and Rescue Departments along with the Sheriff’s Department.
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