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OC commission approves $52M budget

OC commission approves $52M budget

Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 7:37 pm
By: John Brannon Messenger Staff Reporter

By JOHN BRANNON Messenger Staff Reporter By unanimous vote Monday, the Obion County Commission passed a $52 million budget to fund county government for fiscal year 2008-09, which began July 1. The 2007-08 budget would have expired at midnight June 30, the last day of the 2007-08 fiscal year. A continuing resolution passed in June authorized continued funding until a new budget was adopted. Meeting Monday morning at the Obion County Courthouse, the commission formally received a proposed budget crafted by the Obion County Budget Committee. The actual figure of the entire budget for fiscal year 2008-09 is $52,852,866. “That’s expenditures. Almost $29 million of it is school money. About 40 percent of the $29 million is local money,” said county commissioner Danny Jowers, chairman of the budget committee. Tax rate County commissioner Tim Doyle, chairman of the finance committee, submitted a recommendation for property tax rates in the county for fiscal year 2008-09. By unanimous vote, the commission approved his recommendation, which provides a tax rate of $1.95 per $100 valuation of property located outside the city limits of Union City and $1.51 per $100 valuation of property located inside the city limits of Union City. The new rates are a decrease from $2.20 “outside” and $1.71 “inside.” No new taxes Jowers told commissioners the budget committee was able to balance the budget without raising taxes. He noted the two primary sources of local revenue are the wheel tax and property taxes. Neither of those two categories were increased. However, this year’s budget is more than last year’s budget. “The way we did it was to take the various fund balances and use that to balance the budget,” he said. “By state law we have to submit a balanced budget to the (Office of the Comptroller), who reviews it and approves it. “We have been fortunate in the past in having fund balances where we’re able to take some (of them) down to balance the budget without raising taxes. Are we going to raise taxes next year? I don’t know. I can’t predict what the economy is going to do. One of the things that’s hurt us is the amount of interest we’ve lost in our various accounts. “We are losing a substantial amount of money in interest. That (cuts) right into our income.” But make no mistake about it, he emphasized, “we are decreasing fund balances.” The estimated expenditures for the next 12 months is $52,852,866, with a total of $61,699,867 available. “The estimated fund balance is drawn down from $14 million to $8 million. Is all that going to be spent? I doubt it, but it could be,” Jowers continued. Explanation “Let me explain to you where we spent the extra money,” Jowers said. He then gave an example. The fund balance for Obion County School System is $2.45 million, down from $4.9 million. “Where did that money go? Part of that money, the biggest part, has to do with the building program.” There are also factors. “The raises we appropriated cost us $168,000,” Jowers said. “And fuel. I don’t have to explain that one. Everybody knows about it.” Just how massive an impact that soaring fuel costs had on the budget was demonstrated by Obion County Director of Schools David Huss. “We have diesel fuel budgeted at $4.25 gallon (for school bus operations),” Huss said. “We’ve got 85,000 gallons budgeted, which comes to (an expenditure of) $361,250.” And how much is much? Huss said the $361,250 is “well over $100,000” what was spent for fuel last year and $150,000 more than what was spent two years ago. Other business In other business transacted Monday, the county commission: • Approved Mayor Benny McGuire’s nomination of county commissioner Paul Albright for membership on the Solid Waste Planning Board. • Approved a revised budget for Everett-Stewart Regional Airport. • Approved a list of nonprofit organizations to receive contributions from county government. “We had several requests this year. We turned down several requests,” Jowers said. • Approved a resolution appropriating funds to the various departments of county government. Published in The Messenger 8.19.08

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