The Hunter Report
Loudon County Budget Committee
Budget Committee: Tracy Blair, Finance Director, Mayor Arp, Don Miller, Bob Franke, Chris Park, Nancy Marcus. Non members: Sean Giles, Gil Luttrell,
Thumbs down to More BOE Spending!
By: Pat Hunter
August 19, 2008
Starting down the same old road remarked Budget Committee member Don Miller. Miller hit the bull’s eye when he mentioned that the ink wasn’t even dry from the recently approved School Board FY 08-09 Budget when the School Board voted to approve spending $47,000 in pay raises for 28 non-certified employees. Non-certified employees are paid on an hourly basis and will work 4 days less because of the new school calendar. The employees would receive a 2% increase like everyone else but there is no step increase for them. These employees felt like they had been overlooked and not treated fairly.
But the School Board’s $47K budget amendment request hit a brick wall at Monday’s, (Aug.18) Commission’s Budget Committee meeting. The Budget Committee voted to approve other amendments involving federal revenues and expenses related to grant transfer’s only. Salary increases are on hold until the School Board finds a way to pay for it and this amount may not come from Fund Balance.
Last year, the School Board approved bonuses to 8 employees in the amount of $1260 and $1680 respectively, which came to about $11,760. Are bonuses based on evaluations or performance?
At the Aug. 14th School Board meeting, the Board voted to spend $47,000 for 28 employees and adding a 4th tier pay scale for non-certified employees with 12 years and above. Video clip Assistant School Director's explanation for pay raises, Gil Luttrell speaks before the Budget Committee.
Budget Committee member Video clip Commissioner Don Miller was the most vocal about more school spending. He voiced his concerns; he felt using reserve funds to meet ongoing operating expenses was not a good idea. Find some other way of cutting somewhere else if this is important to you, Miller remarked. Commission was very generous to the schools shifting 18 cents to schools, which included an 8 cent property tax increase. We haven’t been “stingy” he thought.
The School’s Fund Balance has now ballooned to about $3 Million after two sources of revenues were “found.”
Business manager Bennie Sims took exception with the word “found” as did Loudon County Mayor, Budget Chair Doyle Arp several weeks earlier when newspapers mentioned that $500,000 (est.) was “found” from several accounts and funds. Video clip Bennie Simms and Video clip Mayor Doyle Arp
School Director Wayne Honeycutt and the new School Board are now tasked to address the $47,000 pay snafu. With high energy costs, high food prices and bad economic woes and dwindling state revenues, the new School Board must now make some tough choices just like taxpayers, doing without or finding another way to cut expenses.