County Departments Face 7.2 Percent In Budget Cuts

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Keeping the Cannon County property tax rate at its current level would require an across-the-board cut of 7.2 percent from every department in county government.

At a meeting of department heads at the courthouse Monday afternoon, County Executive Mike Gannon said total cuts of $345,234 would be needed to keep the tax rate at $2.32 on each $100 of accessed property.

Last week the Cannon County Commission rejected a 15-cent property tax increase and instead sent the proposed budget for the current fiscal year back to the commission’s Budget Committee to determine what would take to balance the budhet if there was not an increase in the rate.

“At the last commission meeting we again failed to get a budget,” Gannon told the department heads. “I had a retired state auditor refigure the numbers over the weekend and what he came up with was a 7.2 percent cut from every department.

“I am going to present that information to the Budget Committee tonight,” Gannon said.

The Budget Committee is scheduled to meet at 6 tonight at the courthouse.

“I have no idea if it will pass,” Gannon said. “Anybody’s guess is as good as mine.”

A 7.2 percent decrease would hit some departments harder than others. The sheriff’s department/jail would lose a combined $115,420. The ambulance service would have to trim $63,225 from its budget. The Circuit Court Clerk’s Office would have to cut $14,528, County Executive’s Office $12,403, Election Office $11,201, Trustee $9,541, Property Assessor $8,434 Chancery Court $7,936 and General Sessions Court $6,994.

The building maintenance fund would have to be cut $15,582 and building insurance $16,060. The library would face a reduction of $7,510.

The total cuts amount of $345,234 represents a little over 17 cents of the current property tax. The Budget Committee originally proposed to the full commission an increase of 20 cents.

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August 29, 2011 at 3:46pm
This is ridiculous! The commissioners need to step up and quit letting a bunch of redneck hillbillies control a meeting and sink this county into the ground.

It is time to do the sensible thing and raise the property taxes to the 15 cents that Kevin George proposed and then turned around and voted against! How stupid was that?

Cutting 7.9% of the budget of some of the departments is stupid beyond stupid. It will literally mean that some of them will have an extremely hard time functioning.

Do the right thing and raise the taxes and quit trying to bankrupt the county!
August 29, 2011 at 4:02pm
What about tthe Solid Waste and Reach? Reach lost it's non profit status and the budget has over 100,000 in it for them. Suppose. To be waiting for grants and then the county is giving them more money to work with. This group owes the county money, why are they not being cut first? Solid Waste why did it not get a cut? If other departments are being cut so should they.
August 29, 2011 at 4:24pm
go ahead and raise them. Why make the whole county suffer by cutting departments that can barely do their jobs adequately anyway. You passed it then rescinded because of the people in attendance. Now how does that look to the general public??? I still say VOTE'EM all OUT and get new people and ideas for this county. That goes for the ridiculous bunch in the school board too! I will do my part whenever they all come up for re-election.
August 29, 2011 at 6:45pm
Don;t see the County Court Office listed in the cuts.
August 29, 2011 at 9:01pm
I’m with you Junebug --- I personally called one of them an idiot to his face after the screwy meeting last week. The school board turned down a FREE offer for a Department of Justice anti-gang and anti bullying program to be taught at Woodbury Grammar. Why – because it was offered by a constable!. The sheriff is asking for more manpower but he has turned his back on 5 elected law enforcement officers in the county – Why – because they are constables. Despite the budget woes of Cannon County 8 of the 10 commissioners voted to remove the law enforcement powers of constables at the end of their terms --- Why? – because one their wives was stopped by a constable. Now they are after the volunteer EMA Director --- What next – The rescue squad? Heck – we are rich property owners – maybe we need a PAID fire department!
August 29, 2011 at 9:06pm
With the economy in the dumps, unemployment at 10%(and probably more like 15-20% especially with underemployment)-what does the government do?(in this case county)-just raise taxes. It must be nice to have the ability to confiscate others income to keep pace with lost revenue and economic downturns. The government should not expect to continually increase taxes to provide more and more services or even to maintain current services. That sort of mentality is not sustainable-don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. I know, I know it is 'just a little bit more'-but there has to be an end to this way of thinking. TnTnTn
August 29, 2011 at 9:19pm
TnTnTn, how do you come to the conclusion that less county government services are needed during an economic downturn? The services needed remain the same regardless of the state of the economy. The cost of many of those services often increase year-to-year. Sometimes more services are needed in certain areas.
August 30, 2011 at 1:06am
NO Pay raises for County employees!!!!!
August 30, 2011 at 6:18am
They need to go through the court house and the one,s run for that office be the one,s running it not there whole family included in the budget and as far as the jail get the State prisioners out of there if the state can't man up and pay there part for housing there inmates. The ones that are hollering raise the property tax are RENTERS so it doesn't matter to them they don't have to pay property tax anyway and bought there vehicles in another county and registered it there to avoid paying the county wheel tax.
August 30, 2011 at 6:44am
I like Halpren's rational. An economic downturn is not the time to slash funding for government services. Let us push to increase the property tax and retain these important services.
Call your county commissioners today.

Let us use that same rational for the federal government. Instead of slashing much needed funding for some most important programs such as those that benefit low income and disadvantaged people let us push to increase the taxes on the wealthly and close the many loop holes for the oil companies and others who are racking up obscene profits during this downturn.

Call Black, Alexander and Corker today and tell them to not cut funding for much needed government programs.
August 30, 2011 at 6:47am
KH-I didn't come to the conclusion that less services are 'needed' during a recession/depression. I am saying that 'free' services provided to residents must be cut just like the taxpayers livlihood is cut by circumstance. Wish someone would 'give' me more money to help with my financial obligations because I have been unemployed for 2 months. Bring on creeping socialism-take all the money and redistribute it as government authorities see fit in their all knowing and wise manner. TTT
August 30, 2011 at 7:23am
MMW, you can't compare the county's budget to the federal government's budget. First, there is not an 8 percent yearly increase figured into the county's budget. Second, the federal government does not have to balance its budget - the county must. Third, there is not an abundance of (social) "programs" in the county's budget - there's the library, senior center, veteran's program and extension office, all of which add up to about a penny of the county's budget.

You also know full well, MMW, that the wealthy pay the majority of the taxes in this country, while close to 50 half the country pay no income taxes at all. The "low income and disadvanataged people" are already living off the backs of the income earners and job producers. You also know that one of the current president's top economic advisers runs a company, GE, that pays no taxes, and has shown himself to be good at creating jobs -- in China.

TnTnTn, other than the ones I just mentioned, I can't think of any "free" services which are funded (to a small degree) by county taxpayers.
August 30, 2011 at 7:57am
Trailrider 612 I AM NOT a renter! I own my property and pay property tax. I want my child to have all the programs he needs in school and as a citizen have services available to me that my family needs. I would pay more on property tax, if that is what it takes to ensure somewhat of an adequate school system. I know not many people agree with my view, but when you live in a county with virtually no industrial facilities or such, you have to face reality to keep up with an ever changing economy.
August 30, 2011 at 8:41am
Halpren, Noblesse oblige, a God given priviledge of those who have and that it how it should be. Should the rich become richer in times that try the souls of the poor and elderly? How do think the Wal-mart founders amassed their fortunes? Did not their employees earning minimum wages with little or no benefits make a major contribution towards their immense fortunes? Why shouldn't the rich pay even more taxes since their fortune came partly at the expense of their workers?
I am for increased property taxes and even more than the 12 cents. For a starter, I would like to see a improved educational system that graduated students ready for the college level courses. And I would like to see more law enforcement personnel presence in the county and I am willing to pay the price to do so.
August 30, 2011 at 9:24am
Out of almost 80 inmates currently incarcerated there are only 10 that are state inmates. The state has NO beds at this time so the state inmates cannot go anywhere. I'm sick of hearing "get rid of the state inmates" like that's the answer to all our problems. Junebug18, I agree with you 100%
August 30, 2011 at 10:11am
Nanny I can. Not afford to send kids to school. It is time ihave not had a rise in my social security in four years .try to live one my income and you want me to pay more to send your children to school shame on you
August 30, 2011 at 10:27am
How much money does it cost to play ball? Maybe you should think more about education
August 30, 2011 at 12:22pm
All of you complaining about schools need to understand that the County Commissioners have no control over the school system with the exception of the budget that is approved or not approved. Everything else lies squarely on the school board, so complaining about schools is useless unless you have talked to your school board representative.

And I am always amazed at people who complain about not having money and cannot afford to pay for food or rent or taxes while at the same time writing responses to the blogs posted on websites that require them to have internet service which costs them money.

I think a lot of people need to get their own house in order before they start complaining about other people’s lives, jobs, budgets, raises, cuts, etc.

I know if I was having as much money trouble as a lot of people are saying they are having then I know I would turn my internet service off, quit smoking, go on a diet and cancel my cell phone just to be able to pay my taxes and other bills.

The ones who truly need help are typically those who are the quietest and never ask for it. To those people I would give the shirt off my back to help them.

The others just want to complain because their ice-cream is cold!
August 30, 2011 at 3:00pm
Maybe we should bicker about this less and pray about it more.
August 30, 2011 at 5:09pm

If enough people fussed about the school budget like they have the county budget the representatives would check into the claims.

I for one have been in talks with both and I am looking to find answers to the questions I have. Not just as a business owner in this county but as a concerned citizen. Have you done the same?
August 30, 2011 at 5:43pm
efisk I have been roasted on this site for my views on the schools so many times that I am crispy.

To answer your question, I have been to school board meetings, talked with school board members, had email conversations with Barbara Parker and have had several email and conversations with one of my County Commissioners concerning the schools.

.90 cents of the $2.44 tax rate (if approved) will go toward schools next year. And as I have said before, once you give the school system money you cannot take it back EVER. It will always be .90 cents from this point forward until it is raised again in the future to support an outdated system.

I have two children in school right now and I want the best education possible for them and all of the other students in Cannon County. So again, before I am vilified for saying something against schools please understand I am not anti-schools.

However, I am against the idea that we need six grammar schools at a cost of $800,000 each year to keep them open.

Especially considering one of the schools currently has more students in Kindergarten than another school in the county has K-3! How could that possibly make sense to anyone?

But, talking about changing the school system in Cannon County is like talking about making changes in Social Security. It is a death sentence to any school board member or commissioner and one they avoid like the plague!
August 30, 2011 at 5:51pm
Corey, if the school system is faced with another million dollar shortfall going into next year (at least that's how I read their budget, could be wrong) I don't think they will have any choice but to close one or more schools.
August 30, 2011 at 6:47pm
Well Kevin for the sake of the county and the sake of the school system as a whole I hope they finally see the light and understand that it is just not a feasible solution to continue to keep six schools open.

I think $800,000 would go a long way toward helping our students over the long run instead of the sentiment of keeping an outdated system in place.
August 30, 2011 at 8:42pm
Corey with ALL of the people in agreement with your ideas be a good time to start printing "VOTE FOR COREY" signs LOL! you got my vote!
August 30, 2011 at 10:54pm
Corey, I know that you are pretty well done over your comments about the schools just by reading post from you over the last year or so. My remark in the earlier post was not noted towards you especially because you are one of the few to attend these meetings. My remark was for those that continue to complain but have not been to a meeting to know exactly what is going on in them.

Kevin does a great job filling everyone in, but he has limited space to do this, and it is near impossible to quote exact words to help everyone understand everything that happens in the meetings.
August 31, 2011 at 10:37am
lucydog, thanks but no thanks.

I am unelectable because I am never going to the type of person who sugarcoats life in Woodbury and that rubs too many people wrong.

In my view people want to hear what they want to hear despite the realities of life around them. And I could never become the type of politician that tells you what you want to hear just to get re-elected.

However, thanks for the imaginary vote!
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