By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
Cannon County Commissioners approved the appropriation resolution for the 2014-15 fiscal year during a special called meeting Monday (July 28).
The budget includes no property tax increase and consists of raises for employees of the Sheriff’s Department. Commissioners approved a property rate of $2.53, which is the same as it was last year.
The only real discussion centered around $35,000 appropriated for raises for deputies and jail employees; however, that would create a situation where corrections and road officers would actually be making more money than their supervisors.
There was much discussion on the issue, including Sheriff Darrell Young’s proposal to return the $35,000 to the general budget, add $2,800 to it and give every county employee a 2 percent increase.
The proposal to provide all county employees the 2 percent raise did not receive much support.
“Why don’t you just take the $35,000 appropriated for the Sheriff’s Department raises and let (Sheriff Young) split that among his employees and they will all receive a raise,” Commissioner Kevin George said.
Commissioner Tony Neal is on the budget committee, which met eight times, and said the reason for allocating the $35,000 for increases was so that deputies would not be so quick to leave Cannon County looking for employment – and additional money – elsewhere.
“The reason for this was to give deputies an increase to keep them from leaving and now we are cutting them back,” Neal said. “We are taking money from deputies because they are not getting (the $35,000) we had allocated.”
“I think (Sheriff Young’s) employees would be happier to split the $35,000 than they would give it back for a 2 percent raise,” George said. “We are so far behind with the Sheriff’s Department competing with (surrounding counties). We need to do this Chairman Mark Barker pointed out Young was on board with the 2 percent raise across the board for all county employees.
“In order to make that happen the Sheriff’s Department would return the $35,000 and then we would add $2,800 to it so (all county employees) receive a 2 percent raise,” Barker said.
After additional discussion Commissioner Jim Jones made a motion to leave the bottom line the same but give Sheriff Young the authority to distribute the $35,000 among his employees.
“This way they can all get some kind of a raise,” Jones said. “Sheriff Young knows more about his department than we do and he knows who should get the raises.”
George seconded the motion, which passed 8-1 with Neal voting against. Commissioner Clint Higgins was absent.
The appropriations for the tax rate are as follows: General Fund-$1.26, Solid Waste Sanitation .16 cents. General Purpose School 88 cents, General Debt Service 3 cents and Ambulance Service 20 cents.
The Cannon County Budget Committee met a total of 8 times. The Committee consists of County Commissioners Tony Neal, Todd Hollandsworth, Jimmy Mingle, Jim Bush and Chairman Mark Barker. Citizens James Adkins and Bill Jennings also served on the committee