Commissioners fail to approve 2014-2015 budget
By: Amanda Hill Bond,
The State of Tennessee Comptroller's Office has given Pickett County a deadline to file an approved and balanced budget with a sufficient fund balance by Monday, July 21st.
The county commissioners held a special called meeting on Monday, June 30th to discuss and approve the 2014-2015 county budget. All commissioners were present and the first item on the agenda was to approve Resolution #13/14-6 making appropriations for the various departments, institutions, offices and agencies of Pickett County for the year beginning July 1, 2014 which failed. Voting was all ayes except Tony Beaty, Darrell Garrett, Joe Harden, Colan Huddleston, Lowell Winningham and Becky Matheny who voted nay.
Chairman Lana Rossi then opened the floor for discussion and county attorney James Brown suggested that the commissioners could possibly recess and do a work session. No motion was made then the meeting was voted to be adjourned by Tony Beaty seconded by Becky Matheny.
If the comptroller’s office does not approve a submitted budget, they will recommend another one be submitted. According to CTAS (County Technical Assistance Service) consultant Ben Rogers who attending Monday night's meeting, if a budget is not approved from the state by October 1st, the county is in danger of losing Basic Education Program money which is the main revenue of the school system causing them to shut down.
Last year, the commissioners failed to approve the tax rate of $1.7283 which was recommended by the Division of Property Assessment under the Comptroller’s office due to loss of property tax revenue from the county's reappraisal. During that special called meeting in September, after several failed motions to set the rate to either $1.67 or $1.7283 the commission finally passed the motion to set the tax levy for 2013-2014 at $1.67. The final vote was all ayes except Joe Harden, Eddie Holt, Doug Manis and Daniel Masiongale who voted nay, Lana Rossi passed.
It was stated in the June 16th commissioners meeting that approximately $60,000 of revenue would have been collected this year if the rate had been set to the state’s recommended tax rate of $1.7283 for the 2013/2014 fiscal year.
The resolution #13/14-6 included cuts to various departments and a proposed tax rate of $1.97 as presented by the budget committee which consists of six county commissioners. They are responsible for presenting the budget to the full commission for approval.
Pickett County property tax rates which were passed by county commission have fluctuated since 1990.
According to the Pickett County Trustee's office, the tax rates and changes from 1990-2012 were as follows:
It is unknown to the PRESS at this time what the county commissioners are planning to do to make sure a budget is able to be approved by the July 21st deadline.