Loudon County Budget Committee

Recommends Certified Property Tax Rate

By Pat Hunter

September 9, 2009

The Loudon Budget Committee began nearly half an hour late today because of two committee members Harold Duff and David Meers. There appears to be no public notice in our hometown newspaper, not in Monday's paper before the meeting and my Wed., paper, will not be delivered until Thurs, after the meeting. My guess, the Budget Committee probably doesn't have to worry about reading a big editorial in the hometown newspaper denouncing the Budget Committee for meeting without a proper public notice as per the Open Meetings Act.

The Budget Committee took several actions including a recommendation to adopt the certified property tax rate of $158.69. The motion was made by Don Miller and seconded by David Meers. Voting Aye: Doyle Arp, Don Miller, David Meers, Chris Park and Harold Duff. 

The Budget Committee was supposed to address a pay raise for county employees but did not. The Budget Committee originally discussed going with the same pay raise as teachers, which the school board approved at 2 percent. When the budget committee last met they were given a handout with different cost scenarios for a 1, 2, or 3 percent pay raise for county employees. The costs associated with a 2 percent pay raise for county employees would be $198,838.35 (est.) 

Towards the end of Wed. budget meeting, Budget Chair Mayor Arp made a recommendation to increase the salary of the finance director to $67,500. The previous  salary FY 08-09 is budgeted as $60,954 or a little over 10 percent increase. There was some discussion about county Planner Russ Newman's salary and Ms. Blair's hard working attributes. The motion was made by Harold Duff and seconded by Chris Park. Voting Aye: Chris Park, Harold Duff, David Meers, Doyle Arp; Voting No" Don Miller       

Budget Chair Mayor Arp recommended a pay raise $60,750 for the Purchasing-Maintenance Director Leo Bradshaw. Harold Duff made a motion but he received no second. The motion died for a lack of a 2nd. The Budget Committee requested to see salary information from surrounding counties of salaries paid to purchasing directors. The mayor gave a couple of verbal examples but they wanted to see the paper work. Mayor Arp didn't bother to make a recommendation on what he proposed paying Gordon Harless.

Budget Chair Mayor Arp made a pitch to spend $10,000 for another wage and salary study but no action was taken on his idea but this may come up for discussion at the Sept. 16th budget workshop.

Note: A wage and salary study with job descriptions was paid for with taxpayer monies many years ago unfortunately, the public wasn't privy to the study until the public records lawsuit.