By MIKE WEST
Discussion over the Cannon County Schools budget went down to the wire Thursday night with the School Board accepting a compromise offered by the County Commission.Previously, the School Board had voted twice not to accept a 3-cent cut of education's share of the Cannon County property tax (amounting to approximately $60,000).
That 3-cent cut was recommended by the County Commission's Budget Committee in an effort to help the county meet guidelines established by the Tennessee Comptroller's Office. During the lengthy budget process a similar 3-cent cut was proposed and passed for most county offices.
The compromise was suggested by Commissioner Mark Barker, chairman of the Budget Committee.
"The easiest way of giving them a little consideration is to reduce the $250,000 we agreed to several years ago," Barker said.
Back when the wheel tax was adopted to pay for construction of Cannon County High School, an agreement was reached for the School Board to pay Cannon County government $250,000 a year out of the tax proceeds.
"If we reduced it enough to take care of that 3 cents would that help you all's budget?" Barker asked. "That money would go over into accounts you could spend. Isn't that right?"
School Board Member Bruce Daniel said the $60,000 wasn't really sufficient according to the needs of the school system.
"What Mr. Daniel is saying is that we are just breaking even. We are not gaining anything," Schools Director Barbara Parker said.
School Board members had suggested recovering the funding from monies annually paid to the Trustee's Office as (basically) a service charge.
County Executive Mike Gannon pointed out removing the funds paid to the Trustee "would really hurt us in the county general budget."
After continued discussion, Gannon asked for a motion on the issue.
Commissioner Jim Bush, a member of the Budget Committee, took a moment to explain the thinking behind that 3 cent cut.
"The revenue power of this county has dropped. That has been our driving force ... it is money. Our job was to get a proper budget together," Bush explained.
Following more discussion, Barker moved to cut the $250,000 paid by the school board to $190,000. Commissioner Russell Reed seconded and the motion passed 8 to 2 with Commissioners Jamie Holloway and Glenn Steakley voting no.
The School Board then called its previously adjourned meeting back to order and moved into the jury room of the Courthouse to discuss and approve the schools' budget.