Davis made the announcement during the Bradley County Commission’s budget retreat Saturday morning
Total expenses in the departments’ proposed budgets exceed projected revenues by approximately $3 million, according to Davis.
Options available to the county are to increase revenue or not fund all of the requests.
“You have the authority to increase revenue. You have the authority to do away with programs, and move money around, Davis told the Commission.
He said a decision as to how to balance the requests and the revenue would need to be made by June 4.
“If we went on this year’s numbers alone, we would be close,” Davis said.
Chairman Louie Alford said he was not suggesting a tax increase, but wanted a figure for how much of an increase would be needed.
Davis said it would require at least a 16 cent property tax increase. Davis said this would not include any additional funding for raises or reserves.
New for this year, Bradley County Schools and the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office will be the only departments verbally explaining proposed budgets.
Finance committee chairman Connie Wilson said department heads were very complete in their explanation of budget requests, making the annual budget hearings for clarification unnecessary.
“They did an excellent job this year,” she said.
The Sheriff’s Office’s budget hearing was held during the retreat. The school system will present clarification during the regular Commission meeting on May 21.
During his budget presentation, Sheriff Jim Ruth stressed the importance of a merit pay plan, fuel-efficient vehicles and corrections officers. The budget proposal for the department includes funding for the first step of the desired plan and eight to 13 positions.
Ruth said the department was having issues with a high turn-over rate, especially in the corrections section of the department.
“The two problems we hear over and over is they don’t see (any chance for) improvement or anywhere to go as far as step-raise ... My primary goal for the Sheriff’s Office itself is a merit pay plan,” Ruth said. “We’ve asked for what I believe is realistic money.”
Ruth said the department had received the first of the fuel-efficient cars purchased in this year’s budget and he expects a 40 percent savings in fuel costs.
“We’ve worked hard to save money this past year,” Ruth said.
The department requested funding for more vehicles this year as part of its switch to more efficient models.
“If we don’t get these cars, I see our gas requests will probably increase another 40 or 50,000,” Ruth said.
Commissioner Terry Caywood said he would like to see a comparison of the departments fue-l efficient and non-fuel efficient cars gasoline usage.
The department also requested to keep all revenue brought in from the sessions drug court revenue for the drug fund.
Commissioners received an updated version of the county’s long-range financial plan from County finance director Lynn Burns.
The plan will be available for the public to view at www.bradleyco.net starting Monday.