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County commission approves trio of budgets for 2012-13

County commission approves trio of budgets for 2012-13
By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
While work continues on the county’s budget for the next fiscal year, a trio of budgets gained the approval of the Obion County Commission during its session Monday morning.
Commissioners voted to approve proposed budgets presented for the Obion County Nursing Home, Everett-Stewart Regional Airport and the Indigent Care Trust Fund.
The commissioners were reminded the Obion County Budget Committee will meet today at 5 p.m. to try to wrap up the county’s 2012-13 fiscal year budget in order for it to be presented to the county commission at its August session. Budget Committee chairman Danny Jowers said the committee is not looking at any tax increases in this budget.
It was also noted the county commission’s next regular session will be a night meeting rather than a morning meeting. It will be Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. at the courthouse.
At Monday’s session, Obion County Nursing Home administrator Tom Reddick presented the nursing home’s proposed budget, which shows total estimated revenues of $4,159,640 and total estimated expenditures of $4,151,166 for the 2012-13 fiscal year. It gives an estimated beginning fund balance of $829,888 at the start of the fiscal year and an estimated ending fund balance of $838,362 at the close of the next fiscal year.
Reddick said the majority of an increase of $1,042,000 in the nursing home budget is due to the 56-bed facility becoming a skilled facility, which will also result in an increase in revenues. He also noted increases in areas such as food costs, insurance, fuel, utilities and supplies, as well as a small pay increase for the nursing home’s medical director, whom he said is “far underpaid” compared to other facilities.
No decision has been made on employee pay raises, although the proposed budget includes a tentative 2 percent increase, and Reddick noted the facility won’t know the Medicaid rate until at least next month. Likewise, the Obion County Budget Committee hasn’t made any recommendation yet on the prospect of raises for county employees.
Reddick said the nursing home’s transition to a skilled facility will make “a tremendous difference” and will eventually add five to 12 jobs as it develops. Therapy will be contracted out, but the additional jobs could include nurses, aides and medical records positions.
The commission ap-proved the nursing home’s proposed budget by an 18-0 vote.
Everett-Stewart Regional Airport manager Jo Ann Speer presented the airport’s proposed budget, which shows total estimated revenues of $3,856,588 and total estimated expenditures of $3,872,346 for the 2012-13 fiscal year. It shows an undesignated fund balance of $318,061 at the start of the fiscal year and projects an adjusted fund balance of $302,302 at the end of the next fiscal year.
Commissioner Jerry Grady questioned the amount of the fund balance, which he said was significantly higher on the proposed budget than on figures initially presented to the Obion County Budget Committee, and Mrs. Speer explained she tried to “whittle down” the budget and stretch out some projects. Plus, the amount of a loan is included in the fund balance.
Mrs. Speer said fuel sales are on the rise at the airport and she highlighted a number of positive improvements and potential opportunities for future growth. Commissioner Jim Bondurant, who represents the commission on the airport board, said the airport board carefully scrutinizes each budget and he called the airport “the front door” to the community. Commissioner Donnie Braswell said he expects those involved to be conservative in spending and he said every official needs to be “extremely responsible” to the taxpayers.
The airport budget was approved by a vote of 18-0.
In another airport-related action, the commission approved a resolution authorizing a capital outlay note, not to exceed $150,000, for the airport. The funds are for a runway extension project, which is nearly complete, and Mrs. Speer noted Weakley County’s legislative body already approved a similar capital outlay note for the project.
The Indigent Care Trust Fund budget was presented by Jowers, chairman of the Obion County Budget Committee, and was also approved by all those commissioners in attendance.
For the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2013, it shows estimated interest income of $106,000 (for October 2012-September 2013) and estimated administrative cost of $5,500, with estimated net interest of $100,500 available for distribution from October 2012 through September 2013. The estimated amount of indigent accounts is $3,700,000 and the estimated indigent fund payment is $100,500.
A financial report for the Indigent Care Trust Fund was postponed Monday and is slated to be presented to the commission at its August meeting.
In other action during Monday morning’s 50-minute meeting, which was opened with prayer led by Braswell and with the Pledge of Allegiance, the county commission:
• Granted approval to a rural fire agreement which will allow the Union City Fire Department to offer a rural fire subscription program in its designated rural coverage area, pending approval by Union City’s city council and legal counsel. (Editor’s note: A story about the proposed agreement was published in Monday’s edition of The Messenger.)
• Approved disbanding the county’s Fire Committee, as recommended by the Obion County Budget Committee.
• Approved several appointments recommended by McGuire. They include the appointment of Jim Glasgow Jr. to the Board of Hospital Governors; the appointments of commissioners Ned Bigelow,  Andy Crocker and Kenneth Cheatham to the Beer Committee; and the appointment of Janis Cunningham to the Reelfoot Lake Tourist Council.
• Approved 10 notary public applications.
County commissioners Cheatham, Sam Sinclair Jr. and Cloney Taylor were absent from Monday’s meeting.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.
 Published in The Messenger 7.17.12

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