Meeting this morning, the Anderson County Budget Committee made some progress as officials seek a resolution to what has proven to be a challenging and at times, confusing budget process.
The committee’s task today is to recommend a budget for consideration by the full Commission during a special called meeting scheduled for Tuesday, August 13th at 3:30 pm.
Among the decisions made before the committee went into recess almost two hours into the meeting included $288,222 in spending cuts to miscellaneous departments that were overfunded when the Budget Committee reset spending to current-year levels during the process that began back in January. Also cut was some $132,500 from the Rescue Squad’s allocation for new vehicles.
As the meeting progressed, budget committee members voted to use the savings created by the cuts, as well as a half-cent increase on the property tax rate to pay for across-the-board, $1000 pay raises for 394 full-time county employees. However, after the recess, Interim Finance Director Robby Holbrook indicated that the half-cent increase could be done away with by shifting revenues from other codes. The initial measure passed unanimously 6-0 after Law Director Jay Yeager informed Committee members Shain Vowell and Denver Waddell, both employees of the Sheriff’s Department, that they needed to abstain from the vote on the raises for cause, even though Vowell has insisted that he not be included in any pay raises. Both men are able to vote on the overall budget and issues pertaining to the Sheriff’s Office, excluding salaries.
The committee passed a recommendation to give $400,000 from the general fund to the schools to pay for the county’s commitment to purchase Chrome Books for the system’s 1;1 technology initiative. The committee approved a 5-cent increase on the tax rate for capital projects in the school system.
The Committee also voted to raise property taxes by 4.5 cents per $100 of assessed value and allocated those funds to the Sheriff’s Department to open Unit 1 at the Jail, which also led to the committee recommending to increase the expected revenue from boarding prisoners in that unit by $500,000.
A half-cent tax increase was also passed, with the revenue from that increase to be used on capital projects in the county general fund, bringing the total tax increase proposed to the Commission to 10 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The recommendations made this morning by the Budget Committee are just that, recommendations, and nothing is final until the full Commission votes on the proposed budget, which should occur next week.
In another matter dealing with county finances, the building at 205 Main in Clinton purchased two years ago for $600,000 to be the new home of the Anderson County Senior Center but was later found to have mold and other issues that prevented it from being used as such, sold at auction this morning to a private developer for $336,000. The purchase price will have to be approved by the full County Commission, which could also occur when commissioners meet on Tuesday.
WYSH will work to find out more about the buyer and their potential plans and update you with that information as it becomes available.