The Anderson County Commission approved the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1st on Tuesday night.
The budget leaves the county’s property tax rates at their current levels and provides no salary increases for county general fund employees. School employees will receive 2% pay raises.
The meeting began with Commissioner Steve Mead calling for a $52,000 cut to the mayor’s budget, saying that since the recent change in financial management systems reduced her responsibilities, she no longer needs to have as many people on her staff. The motion failed after not receiving enough votes.
Commissioners did vote to reconsider its decision to deny a requested increase the Anderson County EMS ambulance rates. Last month, commissioners voted to reject the rate increase, saying that EMS needed to get its financial house in order. Last night, faced with the possibility of having to lay off six EMS employees, which would in turn limit the number of ambulances that would be on the road, the Commission opted to approve the rate increase for a period of one year, with the understanding that once collections improve and money tied up due to red tape in Nashville and Washington starts coming back in, the rates will revert back to their previous levels. The rate increase affects about 20% of the populace, namely those who are not on Medicare and pay their medical expenses out of pocket or through private insurance. The rate increase brings the cost of ambulance services to two-and-a-half times the Medicare approved rate.
A request was made that Anderson County Office on Aging and Senior Center Executive Director Cherie Phillips be given a raise. That motion was deferred for 30 days while officials get more information on the salaries of her counterparts in similarly-sized counties for comparison’s sake. She currently earns around $33,000 a year.
The budget was approved as amended on Tuesday and once the necessary changes have been made to the EMS portion of the budget, it will be formally adopted during Monday night’s regularly scheduled Commission meeting.