The DeKalb County Commission adopted the budgets and set the property tax rate for the 2009-2010 fiscal year during Monday night's meeting at the courthouse.
Total appropriations come to $32-million 058-thousand 719 dollars.
The local property tax rate will remain the same, without an increase, at $1.46 per $100 of assessed value. The tax rate breaks down as follows:
County General 67 cents, up by 12 cents from 55 cents last year
Highway/Public Works- 3 cents
General Capital Projects- 7 cents
Debt Service-20 cents
General Purpose Schools- 49 cents
One cent of the tax rate generates $42,192 in local money with a 6.6% delinquency rate figured into the equation. Here's how much each fund is expected to collect from local property tax dollars:
County General- $2,826,866
General Purpose Schools- $2,067,409
Debt Service- $843,841
Highways/Public Works- $126,576
General Capital Projects- $295,344
Total Tax Levy- $6,160,036
Last year a portion of the property tax rate (19 cents), funded Solid Waste. County Mayor Mike Foster says this year, some fees will be swapped. The 19 cents will now go to support the County General (12 cents) and the General Capital Projects fund (7 cents) while other fees such as wholesale beer taxes, excise taxes, and TVA in lieu of taxes will be used for Solid Waste. "Capital Projects (last year) was funded from in-lieu of taxes, part of the wholesale beer tax, and bank excise tax but this year it will have some pennies(tax rate) to it."
Foster says the General Capital Projects Fund was set up a few years ago to make emergency purchases and other capital outlay expenditures without having to borrow money. "It (Capital Projects Fund) can only be used for capital projects, basically things that cost in excess of $10,000, such as vehicles, ambulances, and the air conditioning system for the courthouse, things like that."
This year's proposed Capital Projects Fund expenses include :
"Motor Vehicles Ambulance- $95,000 (partly funded by a grant)
"Motor Vehicles for patrol cars- $65,000
"Building Construction (Jail Roof)- $70,000
"Heating and AC Equipment (Courthouse)- $90,000
"Solid Waste Equipment (Roll-Off Truck)- $135,000
Pay raises for County General employees will have to wait. The budget includes no pay raises but Foster says that could change during the year, if the economy improves. "There's no raises in here, but depending upon sales tax revenues, in December the county commission may consider giving a one time bonus and make it retroactive back to July. We'll have to see how the economy is."
Foster says the county already has a longevity pay plan in place and he would like to see that incorporated with a step pay scale. "Right now, if you've been here for over five continuous years, you get a $50 per year increase. We want to get on a step system. Right now, if you go to work today, you make the same as somebody who has been here ten years and that's just not fair. We want to combine that with the longevity plan and set a starting salary for each position and then at the end of two years you get this much money, three years this much, five years this much, and so on."
Total appropriations for each fund are as follows:
County General- $5,824,477
Debt Service- $1,301,670
General Purpose Schools- $17,565,005
Central Cafeteria- $1,362,500
General Capital Projects- $472,243
Local Purpose Fund- $2,150,545
Drug Control- $56,960
Courthouse/Jail Maintenance- $57,001
Solid Waste- $1,154,047
The beginning Fund Balance for all funds combined to start the fiscal year July 1st, 2009 was $8,465,442. The ending fund balance by June 30th, 2010 is estimated to be $6,893,167.
The ambulance service budget estimates expenditures to be $1,131,591 for the year and projected patient charges at $765,000. That's a difference of $366,595. Foster says had the state not cut $150,000 in TennCare funds to the county this past year, then the expense of operating the ambulance service would not have been a lot greater than when the county contracted the service with Sumner Regional a few years ago.
More than $13-million of the school system's budget is from state funds, mostly BEP allocations, along with federal revenues. In addition to the $2-million for schools generated by the 49 cent tax rate, the county commission is transferring $1.5 million from the $2.1-million local option sales tax fund to help operate schools this year along with $588,000 to fund the school debt service.
The commission Monday night adopted the school budget as presented by the Board of Education in May. At that May school board meeting, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby called the spending plan a "bare bones" budget since the school system will have to use BEP reserves and federal stimulus money to balance it. There are no local pay raises for employees in the school budget, except for the step increases under the pay scale. The budget does includes a one percent increase in health insurance matching for all employees participating in the program. A few "positions" are being eliminated under the general purpose school budget, but those jobs will be saved thanks to the school system's allocation of federal stimulus dollars, which will be used to fund them.
Except for three cents of the property tax rate and a mineral severance tax, Foster says all of the county road department's budget is funded by state allocations, primarily state gas tax revenues. "Last year we bought a new front end loader for the highway department. It will be funded out of debt service. He (Road Supervisor Kenny Edge) was going to pay $13,000 toward that (from his budget). But we've agreed with him, if he will take that money and spend it a little more on oil and chip road work, then we'll go ahead and pay that this year."
Meanwhile, the commission also adopted a resolution making appropriations of more than $108,000 to the following non-profit organizations:
DeKalb Sparks Softball- $150
Upper Cumberland Development District- $3,411
Tennessee Division of Forestry-$1,500
DeKalb County Rescue Squad- $11,500
Plateau Mental Health-$7,180
Senior Citizens Program-$22,281
DeKalb Soil Conservation District-$24,046
DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce-$10,000
Genesis House- $1,500
Other Child Welfare Services-$3,000
Upper Cumberland Human Resources-$1,200
UCHRA Assessment-Homemaker Aide, etc-$8,985
In addition, the county commission voted to appropriate $1,500 to the DeKalb County Fair, $2,000 to the Imagination Library, and $5,000 to the Dowelltown Park fund.