County Commission Adopts Budgets totaling more than $36 Million

August 10, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Commissioners Larry Summers and Wayne Cantrell
County Commissioners Marshall Ferrell, Bobby Joines, Jack Barton
County Commissioners Jerry Scott, Mason Carter, Elmer Ellis, Jr.
County Commissioner Jeff Barnes

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night adopted budgets for all county departments for the 2010-11 fiscal year and set the property tax rate at $1.46 per $100 of assessed value, the same as last year.

The vote was 9-0. Members voting in favor were Elmer Ellis, Jr., Mason Carter, Bobby Joines, Jack Barton, Jerry Scott, Wayne Cantrell, Jeff Barnes, Marshall Ferrell, and Larry Summers. Members absent were Randy Caplinger, Chris Smithson, Jeff Barrett, John Green, and Willie Thomas.

Total appropriations come to $36-million 181-thousand 801 dollars.

The new budget includes a $400 pay raise for full time county general employees and a twenty five cent per hour increase for part time workers. Members of the county commission will get a $900 per year increase in pay. Each commissioner currently receives $900 per year for attending regular meetings. That will go to $1,800. In addition to the pay hike for regular meetings, the commissioners who meet in committee will receive a $35 increase in pay per meeting.

County Mayor Mike Foster says the budget includes increases in contributions toward benefits including employee and dependent insurance, retirement contributions, workers comp, etc.

Funds are included in the budget for the sheriff's department to make the transition from part time to full time for four deputies who serve as court officers. Under state law, the department is required to have only full time POST certified courtroom officers.

The budget includes money to fund an animal control officer, at least on a part time basis, to pick up stray dogs and cats.

The county will continue to fund "flaggers" at Hurricane bridge on weekdays to control traffic and weight loads across the bridge until the state begins construction work there. The county is expected to receive state grant funds to recoup at least part of the costs of the "flaggers".

The county will not be offering discounts this fall for property owners who pay their taxes in October or November but local property tax relief of up to $50 will be available for those who qualify for the state property tax relief program.

The county is seeking a grant to fund the purchase of a tanker truck and turnout gear for the volunteer fire department. Ten thousand dollars has been budgeted for local matching funds if the grant is approved.

Capital projects fund expenses include:

Ambulance- $75,000 (retro fit an ambulance with new chassis)

Furniture and fixtures (shopping center building)- $100,000 to buy equipment, computers, tables, chairs, appliances,etc.
The county has already been awarded a grant to buy seven or eight new computers for the building; a $15,000 grant for the new senior citizens center to help furnish the kitchen with tables, etc; and a $15,000 grant to finish up the new archives, adding shelves, etc. at the shopping center complex.

Patrol cars or any vehicle needed and grant match for fire department tanker truck- $77,500

Other equipment- $40,000 (fund set aside to help replace fire truck in the future-money to be added to the fund each year)

Building construction- $3,000,000 (Foster says this amount is the balance of the money left from the $5,000,000 the county borrowed to purchase the shopping center complex and to refinance existing debt.) "This ($3,000,000) is what's left after the county paid off the $750,000 for the shopping center building that we bought, paid the county back. We paid off all the notes that the county had including school notes and re-did them at a 3.08% rate, and paid off fire trucks that we bought because the state had condemned two of ours. That's what's left ($3,000,000) in that fund to do work on that building (shopping center) but it may not necessarily all be spent."

Building construction for the Farmer's Market- $50,000 to help match the $80,000 grant to develop the new farmers market.

Solid Waste equipment- $135,000 to purchase a roll back truck and a used front end loader

Other construction- $30,000 for an extra retention pond at the landfill

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 75 cents, up by 8 cents from last year and up by 20 cents from two years ago
Highway/Public Works- 3 cents
General Capital Projects- 8 cents, up by 1 cent from last year
Debt Service-12 cents, down by 8 cents from last year
General Purpose Schools- 48 cents, down by 1 cent from last year

One cent of the tax rate generates $43,920 in local money with a 5.75% delinquency rate figured into the equation. Here's how much each fund is expected to collect from local property tax dollars:

Net Estimated Collections:
County General- $3,324,007
General Purpose Schools- $2,127,365
Debt Service- $531,841
Highways/Public Works- $132,960
General Capital Projects- $354,561
Total Tax Levy- $6,470,735

Total Estimated Revenues:
County General- $6,069,149
Highways- $1,931-102
Debt Service-$556,407
General Purpose Schools-$17,269,428
Central Cafeteria- $1,346,000
General Capital Projects-$420,938
Local Purpose Fund-$2,150,000
Drug Control- $36,910
Courthouse/Jail Maintenance-$70,405
Solid Waste-$1,375,116
Total: $31,225,454

Total appropriations for each fund are as follows:
County General- $6,328,134
Highways- $2,109,381
Debt Service- $1,138,412
General Purpose Schools- $18,029,136
Central Cafeteria- $1,408,500
General Capital Projects- $3,511,566
Local Purpose Fund- $2,144,184
Drug Control- $36,003
Courthouse/Jail Maintenance- $64,755
Solid Waste- $1,400,231
Total- $36,181,801

The beginning Fund Balance for all funds combined (available money) to start the fiscal year July 1st, 2010 was $11,895,282. The ending fund balance by June 30th, 2011 is estimated to be $7,531,880.

The ambulance service budget estimates expenditures to be $1,138,558 for the year and projected revenues for the operation are projected to be $948,424 including $925,000 in patient charges, a difference of $190,134. Foster says that while revenues have been exceeding expectations the EMS operation is still not operating at a break even point. However, he points out that a few years ago when the county contracted with others to operate the ambulance service, it was paying out $160,000 and buying ambulances each year.

The budget for schools comes to over $18 million including local, state, and federal funds. The property tax rate for schools will be trimmed by one cent from 49 cents to 48 cents per $100 of assessed value. Foster says the one cent reduction will not adversely affect the school system. The school board, in it's budget request, asked for $33,000 in extra local funds over last year. Foster says since one cent of the tax rate generates more money than last year due to growth, the school system will actually be receiving more than ten thousand dollars over and above it's request.

In addition to the $2-million 127-thousand 365 for schools generated by the 48 cent tax rate, the county commission is transferring $1-million 540 thousand from local purpose tax fund (sinking/sales tax fund) to help operate schools this year along with $580,534 to fund the school debt service for payment on the Northside Elementary School and roof at Smithville Elementary School. The state BEP allocation for schools is $12-million 508-thousand dollars.

The school budget includes a $400 increase per certified position and a 25 cent per hour increase for all support staff positions along with the step increases per salary scales and adjustments for degree advancement per salary scales.

The budget also includes one new special education resource teacher for DeKalb County High School to help meet the new diploma requirements. One of the current school nurse positions and two special education assistants, under this budget, will be funded from general purpose schools, rather than federal as they have been in the past. One part-time special education vision teacher position will become full time under this budget.

Three cents of the property tax rate, $132,960, helps support the county highway department along with a mineral severance tax, $25,000, Other than that, Foster says all of the county road department's budget is funded by state allocations, mostly state gas tax revenues.

The landfill budget has increased this year, primarily due to increases allocated for costs associated with post closure of former landfill sites. The increase in that category alone is going from $60,000 to $200,000. Depreciation expense is increasing from $25,000 to $120,000. Foster says another manned convenience site is being developed at the landfill and funds have been included to cover more man hours at some of the other convenience site locations.

The solid waste fund does not receive any property tax money. A total of $601,715 in local funds to support solid waste are derived from payment-in-lieu of taxes, local option sale taxes, hotel-motel tax, bank excise tax and wholesale beer tax. Sixty five thousand dollars is budgeted as projected revenues from tipping fees.

The commission also adopted a resolution making appropriations of $123,735 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
Families First-$750
Senior Citizens Program-$23,962
DeKalb Soil Conservation District-$28,097
DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce-$20,000
Genesis House- $1,500
Prospect Incorporated-$12,500
Upper Cumberland Human Resources-$1,200
Double Creek/Other Child Welfare Services- $3,000
UCHRA Assessment-Homemaker Aide, etc-$8,985

Dues and memberships:
Upper Cumberland Tourism Association- $300
Tennessee County Services Association- $1,223
Tennessee County Officials Association- $1,985
Tennessee County Sheriff's Association- $1,200
Tennessee County Commissioners Association- $1,350
Upper Cumberland Development District- $2,508
Association of Tennessee Valley Governments- $400
Total dues and memberships- $8,966

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