Budget hearings for OC under way

Budget hearings for OC under way
By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
Non-profit agencies pitched funding requests Monday morning as the Obion County Budget Committee held the first round of budget hearings for the next fiscal year.
The seven-member com-mittee has begun Obion County’s budget process for the 2012-13 fiscal year and the first of a series of budget hearings specifically accepted requests from non-profit and civic organ-izations.
The seven members of the Obion County Budget Committee are county com-missioners Danny Jowers, Sam Sinclair Jr., Ralph Puckett, Jerry Grady, Allen Nohsey, Terry Roberts and Richard Arnold. Currently, Jowers serves as committee chairman and Sinclair as vice chairman.
Jowers said the budget is “going pretty good” this year and expenditures are being held tight as county officials work to get back on track. He said commissioners will look at each funding request “in a fair and honest way” as they consider them for a budget to be presented to the full county commission for approval.
Several requests were submitted in writing, but a number of the agencies seeking funding also had representatives on hand at Monday’s hour-long meeting in the basement conference room at the Obion County Courthouse.
Among those who ap-peared in person were representatives of Corn Fest, which was cut from this year’s budget and is seeking $2,500 next year; West Tennessee River Basin Authority, which is seeking $25,200 next year, the same as this year; the Obion County Rescue Squad, which has requested $10,000 next year, an increase from this year’s $7,000, largely due to rising fuel costs and vehicle maintenance; the Obion County Senior Citizens Center, which is seeking the same annual funding of $27,500; the University of Tennessee at Martin Infant Stimulation Program, which was cut this year and has requested $1,000 next year; Community Developmental Services, which is requesting $7,500, an increase from $3,000 this year; the Obion County Fair Association, which is seeking the same annual funding of $4,000; the Vocational Rehabilitation Center, which is requesting $75,740 next year, a slight increase from $73,481 this year; and the newly-formed Northwest Tennessee Disaster Services, which is requesting $5,000 — a new funding request to be considered by the budget committee.
Other requests submitted for consideration included the Carl Perkins Center, $5,000; pauper burials, an annual allocation of $1,350; Soil Conservation Service, the same $24,314 as this year, plus a cost-of-living adjustment, and a $1,000 contribution; the Union City Industrial Board (Tyson), the same $58,968 as allocated this year; Joint Economic Development Council annual dues, $11,000, the same as this year’s amount, which was cut in half from the previous year; Everett-Stewart Regional Airport, which Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire suggested as $20,000 after noting a rise in farm rent, a decrease from the $27,500 budgeted this year; and Veterans Service, the same $13,790 as this year, plus a cost-of-living adjustment, and a new request of $399 for computer software.
Although a formal request was not submitted, Nohsey said he would renew the same request for $5,000 from the Obion County Museum. He said the building will remain, even though work will soon be under way to move exhibits to Discovery Park of America.
Also to be considered are annual dues to organizations that include Northwest Tennessee Development District, Northwest Ten-nessee Human Resources, Northwest Tennessee Tour-ist Authority, I-69’s coalition, the Association of TVA and the Tennessee County Services Association.
Jowers said the budget committee will hold a couple more budget hearings as they consider funding requests and continue the process of drafting next year’s budget for Obion County. One thing committee members will have to keep in mind is a state-mandated 1.6 percent pay raise for elected officials who operate county offices.
The next budget hearing is scheduled for April 17 at 6 p.m. at the courthouse.
Published in The Messenger 4.10.12

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