THE HUNTER REPORT
Loudon County Budget Committee gives nod of approval
Budget Chair Mayor Doyle Arp (l), (School Director Wayne Honeycutt), Budget Committee members Don Miller, David Meers, Chris Park, (Jason Vance, Asst. School Director), Tracy Blair, Budget Committee Secretary-Finance Director.
Proposed FY 09-10 School Budget Easily Approved
By: Pat Hunter
August 23, 2009
At Thursday's August 20th Budget Committee meeting, the committee met to discuss the proposed school budget. There was considerable discussion that funding the proposed operating school budget in its present form may mean a property tax increase or a reduction of pennies for the proposed school building, which would also reduce the amount that may be borrowed for the school renovations and new schools without a property tax increase.
Commissioner Chris Park was concerned about taking care of present school buildings and county employee pay. There were comments about the school board raiding the fund balance to help pay for text books. Commissioner David Meers spoke about being in an economic depression and cutting back spending.
Commissioner Don Miller voiced his concerns about funding the school budget and he shared some stats about past school funding. Miller made a motion to send the budget back to the school board but he received no second on his motion. Instead, the Budget Committee voted 4 to 1 to recommend sending the proposed FY 09-10 school budget to the full commission. A motion was made by Harold Duff, and seconded by Chris Park to grant the school director his proposed school budget. Both Duff and Park reside in District 5. Voting YES: Mayor Budget Chair Doyle Arp and Commissioners Harold Duff (D-5), Chris Park (D-5) and David Meers. Voting NO: Don Miller (D-7). Surprisingly, some on the Budget Committee openly griped about hefty pay raises included in this budget, which are estimated at $10,000 for some BOE employees.
One Committee member suggested that the Budget Committee also look into giving pay raises to the finance director and purchasing director after the Budget Committee examined the pay scale for the planning director estimated to be in the mid $60,000 pay range.
Senior citizens just received some bad news from the federal government regarding their social security checks. Seniors for the first time in history will see their social security checks shrink for the next two years. According to the AP wire, "By law, Social Security benefits cannot go down. Nevertheless, monthly payments would drop for millions of people in the Medicare prescription drug program because the premiums, which often are deducted from Social Security payments, are scheduled to go up slightly."
Will seniors show their dissatisfaction with the politicians at the voting polls in August 2010? Only time will tell, if seniors agree with local politicians doling out pay raises while the pay checks of seniors shrink!
Some on the school board say that the county fund balance is estimated to be $8 Million while the Finance Director estimates the fund balance to be between $6 Million and $6.5 Million. Until the auditors finish the audit sometime next spring, your guess is as good as theirs.
A property tax freeze has not been passed by county commission even though the County is sitting on a healthy fund balance estimated to be between $6Million -$8.5Million. See below for a complete list of counties and cities that adopted a tax freeze for seniors.
Tennessee Tax Freeze Jurisdictions
as of July 15, 2009
The following counties and cities in Tennessee have adopted the local option
Property Tax Freeze program. In order to qualify, an applicant’s principal
residence must be located within one of these jurisdictions.
County Year Adopted City Year Adopted
Anderson 2007 Bartlett 2008
Blount 2007 Clarksville 2008
Bradley 2007 Collierville 2008
Campbell 2008 Dyersburg 2008
Coffee 2008 Fairview 2008
Davidson 2007 Gallatin 2008
Franklin 2008 Goodlettsville 2008
Hamblen 2007 Gordonsville 2008
Hickman 2008 Greenbrier 2008
Knox 2007 Hendersonville 2008
Montgomery 2008 Jackson 2009
Roane 2007 Manchester 2007
Robertson 2008 Memphis 2008
Rutherford 2008 Piperton 2008
Sevier 2008 Portland 2008
Shelby 2008 Smyrna 2009
Smith 2008 South Carthage 2008
Sumner 2008 Spring Hill 2009
Williamson 2008 Springfield 2008
Wilson 2007 Tullahoma 2009
20 Counties Total
21 Cities Total
Source: State of Tennessee, Comptroller of the Treasury, Division of Property Assessments