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Commissioners consider more budget requests

Commissioners consider more budget requests
Staff Reporter
Work continued on Obion County’s 2012-13 budget Wednesday as the budget committee sifted through additional budget requests.
In recent weeks, the Obion County Budget Committee has received funding requests from various departments which provide county services, as well as several non-profit agencies which serve the community.
During a 70-minute session Wednesday morning, the committee accepted proposed budgets from Everett-Stewart Regional Airport, the Obion County Nursing Home and the sheriff’s department litter grant and received a budget synopsis from the Obion County School System.
The airport is seeking $20,000 from Obion County, the same amount funded in the current year’s budget and also the same amount requested from neighboring Weakley County for next year’s budget, according to airport manager Jo Ann Speer.
Obion County Nursing Home administrator Tom Reddick presented a proposed budget based on the facility going to skilled care, which will result in additional jobs, nursing supplies and on-site therapy. The overall increase is $1,042,000 over last year and Reddick said over 90 percent of that is due to the facility going skilled, possibly as soon as early this summer.
The Obion County Nursing Home’s move to skilled care will also be a benefit to Obion County in funds generated and returned on the asset, according to budget committee chairman Danny Jowers.
The Obion County School System’s budget was presented by Jowers in the absence of Obion County Director of Schools David Huss and was given in the form of a preliminary synopsis rather than a final budget proposal. Assessed property values from the current fiscal year were utilized since none are presently available.
It was noted at Monday’s county commission meeting and again at Wednesday’s budget meeting that a reduction in the allocation to the county and city schools — 7 cents on the tax rate — will be returned to the schools in next year’s budget and the county will take back its TVA funds which were used to make up the loss in the county school system this year.
The county school system’s budget synopsis reported several capital outlay projects for improvements at the county’s schools.
Due to enrollment declining and the state of the economy, seven teaching positions and one support position were cut in the county school system, according to Huss’ synopsis. Jowers estimated those to equal $300,000 to $400,000 with benefits.
The budget committee approved commissioner Jerry Grady’s motion for Huss to present a more detailed budget for review, as well as for the Union City School System to provide its budget before any county funds are approved. In making his motion, Grady said he wants to see the city school system’s current budget and the last two years’ budgets.
Grady also noted the county had cut $170,000 from the county school system’s budget and not heard from anyone, but then heard considerable public reaction over $90,000 lost by the city school system due to the reduction in the allocation in the current fiscal year’s budget.
Obion County Sheriff Jerry Vastbinder presented a litter grant budget which totals $49,600, all with grant funding through the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
In addition, the committee approved the sheriff’s request to modify the jail budget for next year’s requests by increasing the postage line item from $500 to $4,500 to account for the purchase of postage stamps to sell through the jail commissary. The funds will come back as revenue.
During discussion of debt service, Grady revisited an issue first approached by Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire at Monday’s county commission meeting, when he noted Union City should be paying 11 cents rather than 1 cent on General Debt Service Fund on the tax rate.
In August 2011, the county commission set the combined property tax rate for the county for the current fiscal year at $2.07 outside and $1.63 inside on each $100 of taxable property, which provides revenue divided the following way: General Fund, outside rate 44 cents and inside rate 44 cents; Highway/Public Works, outside rate 7 cents and inside rate 7 cents; General Purpose School, outside rate $1.11 and inside rate $1.11; and General Debt Service, outside rate 45 cents and inside rate 1 cent.
Jowers said the matter needs to be discussed in detail at a budget workshop and Grady said he would like for Union City Mayor Terry Hailey to be involved.
Non-profit requests
The budget committee finished up Wednesday’s session by going line by line through the non-profit budget requests which were first reviewed during a first budget hearing on April 9.
The committee decided to allocate the following: Obion County Rescue Squad, $10,000; American Red Cross, $5,000; Carl Perkins Center, $2,500; Community Developmental Services, $3,000; pauper burials, $1,800; Obion County Senior Citizens Center, $27,500; Obion County Fair Association, $4,000; Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Tennessee, $1,000 (with a request to see the organization’s budget); Soil Conservation salary, $24,314 plus COLA, with no funding of a requested $1,000 contribution; West Tennessee River Basin Authority, $25,200; Union City Industrial Board (Tyson), $58,968 (with county officials to check to determine when payment is scheduled to cease); Joint Economic Development Council dues, $11,000; Northwest Tennessee Development District dues, $4,752; Northwest Tennessee Human Resources dues, $4,355; airport, $20,000; Veteran’s Services, $13,790 plus COLA and $399 for a computer; Association of TVA dues, $626; Tennessee County Services Association dues, $1,674; Vocational Rehabilitation Center, $75,740; and Northwest Tennessee Disaster Services, $1,000.
The committee did not make any decision on funding requests from Corn Fest and I-69, with those decisions still pending.
The committee had recently received funding requests from Westover Center for the Arts and West Tennessee Honor Guard, but did not vote to provide any funding to either.
All of the budget requests are being carefully considered as the seven-member budget committee goes through the budget process for the next fiscal year and drafts a budget to be presented to the Obion County Commission for approval later this summer.
Published in The Messenger 5.24.12

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