Spring means this: It's budget time!

D. Gary Davis
Posted 3/6/18

Last week, another annual activity began throughout the offices of Bradley County government. It is one of utmost importance, and also one for which my job title of Bradley County mayor was developed …

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Spring means this: It's budget time!


Last week, another annual activity began throughout the offices of Bradley County government.

It is one of utmost importance, and also one for which my job title of Bradley County mayor was developed by state law.

As Bradley County’s “chief financial officer,” it is my responsibility to present a budget each year to the Bradley County Commission for members' review, with possible changes that they might want to include as part of the final budget document. More than 70 departments comprise this document for Bradley County government.

Each one of the departments has received their budget paperwork and documents that are necessary to prepare their budget proposal for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The massive amounts of time spent by each office are both appreciated and also understandable.

With more than $140 million of revenue and an ever-increasing amount of expenditures, this level of diligence is just one of the reasons that Bradley County has continued to retain budget-document proficiency and accountability awards for over a decade.

I have worked with many different personalities and also some who had differing beliefs as to spending and priorities over the years. But I have also found that most understand there is a limit to what can be spent for all valid requests. They also understand that when trying to “live within our budget," — like families all across Bradley County have to do each year — some projects and needs have to be delayed until we can afford to proceed with their funding requirements.

Does this process win me multitudes of friends? Not really. But when applied as a basis for all departments and requests, it is an understood reason that few have not eventually agreed with in the long term.

This process has allowed us to become one of the fastest growing areas of the region, and also the nation, and with that growth employment has continued to rise to the point that almost 97 percent of our eligible citizens now have jobs.

These principles are not new, nor are they unrealistic. But, they do require the determination to again “live within our means." I thank those who work with me each and every day to continue to strive to supply the best service for the least amount of financial burden for our employer — the Bradley County taxpayer.

The vast majority of Bradley County departments will hopefully deliver their requests to the Finance Committee, and to me, that represent the same, or less, budget requests as compared to last year. A few will need more funding, due to equipment upgrades, state-mandated requirements or replacement of non-compliant access areas.

In each instance, there will be deliberations and required justifications that have to be verified. This process has been very effective in making sure that we stay true to our course of being mindful of needs, and aware of the financial costs to the taxpayer.

I can honestly say that this part of the year, while being very busy, is also a time that is part of the reason that I enjoy being your Bradley County mayor. The ability to see each department, elected official and government employee striving to do their best to ensure that the taxpayer is protected is one I am the most proud of.

While we at times may have “discussions” on how to arrive at the final destination, there are never any long-term feelings of hostility or ill will.

People working together to achieve a common goal across Bradley County government during budget time is yet another reason that Bradley County truly is ... Tennessee at its best!


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