A motion to provide the needed funding for the department did not receive a second, and therefore could not be voted on, during a Bradley County Finance Committee meeting Wednesday.
Finance committee member Jeff Morelock said he planned to bring up the issue at the next work session of the Bradley County Commission.
A proposal by the center to keep it from being labeled “distressed” by the state asked for $173,745 from the county to be combined with $173,745 from the city and $3,510 from Charleston.
Joe Wilson of the 911 Center has pointed to varying 911 tax rates for communication technology and how the state calculates depreciation as reasons the center is operating over budget.
“Even if you took out the depreciation expenses, there is still going to be a problem. We’ve been decreasing the fund balance year over year,” finance committee member Ed Elkins said. “Somehow or another this has to be reconciled so that the expenses match the revenue. If the state increases the revenue, I think we would still have a problem based on the amount of expenses that we’re incurring today and what they are asking for, for next year.”
Many counties in the state are also at risk of being labeled distressed, according to previous reports.
Elkins said this needs to be addressed at the state level. The county and city each contribute $450,000 to the center each fiscal year with additional funding coming from Charleston.
Also during the finance meeting, Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis presented a letter he plans to send to elected department heads, requesting revised budget proposals showing no increases.
“We’ve gone through and taken this year’s totals, plus a few of them asked for less and we’ve asked for those [lower] numbers, and that is the only way it balances with the revenues we have,” Davis said.
Davis said he would also be speaking with nonelected department heads who requested increases about revising their requests, as well.
Morelock said he hoped the county could look at implementing a countywide, merit-based step plan next year.
The committee also passed five budget amendments for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office. One amendment accepted Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement into the BCSO budget on the condition that the money come in before the next fiscal year and only be used for gasoline.
Davis said even though the county did not have the funds to implement a merit-pay plan the department could consider approaching the Commission about implementing the career service plan mentioned in a previous meeting. The plan would limit an incoming sheriff from demoting certain personnel below a certain rank.
The finance committee also granted an amended request for Bradley County Emergency Medical Service. The department had requested using money from FEMA reimbursement and unused funds in retiree insurance to fund communication and gasoline expenses. Since the FEMA reimbursement money had already been included in the revenue for the next budget year, the committee said the department could use up to $37,560 from the unused retiree insurance money to fund the requested needs. The original request was for $45,500 for communication and gasoline.