County: No new requests from charities

Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Non-profits seeking new funding from county government will have to wait until at least next year to do so.

When Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain presented the proposed 2014-15 county budget to the commission’s budget committee on Tuesday, he introduced five non-profits seeking charitable requests totaling $60,000.

The requests included $30,000 in capital project funding from the Theatre Guild to help build a new theater, $10,000 from the Morristown-Hamblen Library for roof repair, $10,000 from HC*EXCELL and $10,000 from the Lakeway Civil War Preservation Association.

Helen Ross McNabb also made notice of an intention to request funding but had not specified an amount.

Commissioner Herbert Harville asked where the money from last years budget went that was supposed to go to the Youth Emergency Shelter, now taken over by HRM.

Brittain said the money goes on a case by case basis to McNabb but has otherwise stayed in the fund balance.

Commissioner Howard Shipley immediately made a motion to not fund any new request from non-profit organizations.

The motion passed with only one committee member against the motion.

Non-profits that were funded last year will be funded again this budget cycle with the same amount as the previous year.

Earlier in the meeting, Brittain noted that the county no longer had to pay ETHRA for its bus services leaving $20,000 available to be used. Brittain suggested in his presentation giving $5,000 of the money to each county volunteer fire department.

Commissioner Stancil Ford said he would prefer to see that funding be given in a rotating lump sum of $15,000 to each department every four years for capital expenditures only.

Ford said it would be better for the departments to get the equipment they need.

Commissioner Louis “Doe” Jarvis said he agreed with Ford but the fire departments need to be held responsible for their budgets before money is just given to them.

“We need to evaluate their financial situation and see what they’re using their money for before we just hand them $15,000,” Jarvis said.

The committee will continue to discuss the matter as the budget process continues.

Outside of those expenditures, the overall budget has a positive outlook.

Brittain said the upcoming budget maintains services at current levels and has a project growth for the general fund just under $300,000 for the last fiscal year.

The budget includes estimated revenues of $16,521,359 to expenditures of $17,902,659 leaving a deficit of $1,381,300.

In revenues, property tax collections have increased $45,000.

Expenditures causing the deficit include $174,000 for implantation of General Sessions II staff, $29,000 in state mandated pay raises for elected officials, $147,000 for a 10 percent increase in appropriations for health insurance and $116,000 for a 10 percent increase in liability insurance.

Other expenditures in the general fund include $29,000 for a new accounting position in finance department (half funded by finance and half by solid waste system), $54,000 in election cycle costs and $8,000 in reappraisal cycle costs.

The county’s fund balance will be used for capital projects in expenditures of $128,000 for Mobile Data Terminals for patrol vehicles, $30,000 for HVAC control panel at the jail annex, and $253,000 (from fund balance) for eight new vehicles as according to the county fleet management plan.

Brittain said the budget proposal also includes using a planned $748,000 of fund balance to help reduce the county’s general obligation debt. The county will use $4.5 million in principle payments to additionally reduce the debt to $36.4 million, which is less than half its original amount.

Because the increase in property taxes ($127,000) and sales taxes ($123,000), Brittain said the county will have an additional $250,000 to aid the school budget’s maintenance of effort.

The school system will present its budget to the committee on Thursday, May 15 at 4 p.m. in the main court room at the courthouse.

-From Staff Reports

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