|OC budget proposal sent to commission
|Posted: Monday, August 6, 2012 10:00 pm
|By CHRIS MENEES
After some heated dis-cussion, the Obion County Budget Committee finally voted this morning to send a proposed county budget for the next fiscal year to the full county commission for consideration.
A resolution fixing the tax levy will also be sent to the full commission for consideration — even though the seven-member committee was split in its decision to do so.
What was expected to be a short meeting of the budget committee hit a snag this morning when chairman Danny Jowers sought a motion to include a resolution making appropriations for various funds of the county’s budget on the agenda for the Aug. 20 Obion County Commission meeting.
When no one made a motion, Jowers asked if the budget committee needed to revisit the budget again and questioned why members had voted in previous budget hearings to approve the proposed appropriations. Jowers said he is tired of being blamed for every decision by the budget committee and the commission.
“I’m just one vote,” he said.
After lengthy discussion about some individual bud-get items and the proposed property tax rate for the 2012-13 fiscal year, it appeared the meeting was going to end without a decision to send a proposed budget to the full commission. Initially, no one was willing to make motions to send either the budget resolution or a tax levy resolution to the full commission.
Jowers said the budget committee is supposed to hash everything out before it gets to the commission for consideration. He said if they can’t get a consensus among the seven-member committee, they won’t get a consensus from the 21-member county commission.
“Let’s work it out,” he urged, prompting further discussion of a few items.
The committee ultimately voted unanimously to send the proposed budget to the full Obion County Commission for consideration — but discussion continued on the proposed tax rate.
Union City city manager Kathy Dillon appeared before the committee to urge them to consider options regarding a proposed 6-cent increase on the inside combined property tax rate and the increased burden it will create.
The Obion County Finance Committee unanimously voted July 27 to accept a recommendation to set the inside rate at $1.69 and the outside rate at $2.07.
Budget committee vice chairman Sam Sinclair Jr. asked for figures — in writing — to help explain the need for the inside rate tax increase to help fund debt service.
Commissioner Ralph Puckett ultimately made the motion to send the tax levy to the full commission for consideration. The vote deadlocked 3-3 — with Sinclair and commissioners Richard Arnold and Allen Nohsey voting against it, while Puckett and commissioners Jerry Grady and Terry Roberts voted in favor. Jowers did not cast a vote and again asked how they were supposed to reach a decision at the commission meeting when the budget committee could not agree.
After a 20-minute recess, the meeting resumed with Grady pressing Jowers to cast his vote and break the 3-3 tie. Jowers voted in favor of placing the tax levy on the commission agenda for consideration and it carried by a 4-3 margin.
The meeting ended at 11 a.m., right at The Messenger’s press time for today, and a more detailed story with figures — including those requested by Sinclair — will be included in Tuesday’s edition.
In other action during this morning’s 90-minute meeting, which was opened with prayer led by Arnold, the budget committee:
• Voted to place a financial report for the Indigent Care Trust Fund and a report from the county’s insurance committee on the August county commission agenda.
• Voted to include the county library’s budget for the next fiscal year on the commission’s August agenda.
• Approved placing notary public applications on the commission’s agenda.
Prior to this morning’s budget committee meeting, the budget committee members had met in joint session with the Obion County Highway Commission to discuss asphalt applications with County Technical Assistance Service and Tennessee County Highway Officials Association representatives.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Published in The Messenger 8.6.12