As your county mayor I am committed to a budget that does not increase property taxes. I hope the Commission will agree once they have reviewed my proposal. The proposed budget was presented to the Commission on Monday June 4, as a “no frills” budget that reflects the difficult economic times in which we live.
Bradley County’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. Establishing a final budget for the new fiscal year begins with an estimate of county revenues. This allows me and the Commission to develop a budget within our available resources. This includes a review of current County finances as well as local and regional economic conditions. Other factors impacting the budget are building permits, property tax assessments, business license records, retail sales etc. The Goal is to gather as much relevant financial information as possible to allow us to set the limits of budget possibilities. From there we create a funding allocation for each county department.
The Finance Committee will review my proposal on June 7 and make any revisions or amendments they feel are necessary. The Committee will then present their revised budget to the full Commission on June 11. The Commission will have a week to review the preliminary budget and on June 18 will hear any appeals from department heads.
The completed proposed budget will be published in the Cleveland Daily Banner on June 22 and the Commission will vote to adopt the budget on July 2.
The 2012/2013 proposed budget fully funds the operational needs of the Bradley County School System. If adopted by the Commission on July 2 the total budget will be $133,028,864. 60.6 percent of that will go to County Schools. This leaves a general fund of $32,313,882 which is $518,000 or 1.6 percent more than last year. This includes a 1.6 percent salary increase for employees.
I am confident this budget will meet the obligations of the county and maintain the services that residents have come to expect without placing an additional tax burden on our citizens. It also meets the county’s policy of maintaining a minimum 10 percent reserve fund balance, actually increasing the fund balance to 10.4 percent.
Only a few county departments asked for an increase in their budget over last year. Due to flat revenues we were not able to grant the requests. The final decision rests with the full Commission when appeals are heard on July 18.
While this budget reflects once again our lean economic times, we still have a lot to be excited about as the local economy continues to rebound.
The latest statistics show Bradley County’s unemployment rate has dropped to 7.9 percent. Amazon has exceeded its initial workforce projection of 250 and now employs 450.
Wacker is now training a few hundred of its local employees at its headquarters in Germany and more than 1,000 construction workers are employed at the plant site near Exit 33. It’s only a matter of time until we see these companies and others contributing to the County’s revenue stream and taking pressure off our local individual taxpayers.
I want to thank all elected County officials and department heads for their cooperation in helping hold the line on spending. Budgeting is a long process and requires input and cooperation from many people. A good working relationship between the County Mayor and the County Commission is important. Maintaining open lines of communication and strong working relationships are very important to achieving a balanced budget.
The Bradley County budgeting calendar is designed to make the process as transparent as possible. If you have not been able to attend any of the hearings or Finance Committee meetings I encourage you to examine the budget on line at www.bradleyco.net.
Click on the Finance Department and the budget link. The entire budget with each line item is available for everyone to examine. The 2012/2013 budget will be posted as soon as it is adopted by the Commission.