The balanced budget, which includes a 5 percent spending cut in the General Fund, was presented during a voting session of the Bradley County Commission at the Courthouse.
“This has definitely been a tough budget,” Davis told commissioners. He praised the efforts of elected county leaders who cooperated with his request to reduce spending for the coming year and acknowledged, “Everyone recognizes the tough economic times we are going through.”
Davis said the budget is based on projections that property and sales tax revenue will be flat next year.
The total proposal, which includes the Bradley County School System and the Bradley County Sheriff’s Department, is $3,039,644 less than the current year. If adopted by county commissioners, the General Fund — currently $32,787,054 — would drop to $31,003,024, or $1.7 million less for a 5.4 percent reduction.
The mayor acknowledged the efforts of various departments and pinpointed the Sheriff’s Department for being the first to submit a budget proposal that included the requested 5 percent reduction in spending, representing a $600,000 cut.
The budget includes a $1.5 million reduction by county schools from $62.9 million this year to $61.4 million.
Davis said the budget proposal includes a 10 percent Reserve Fund as required by county policy.
The proposed budget’s Capital Projects Fund totals $2.9 million and includes $1.5 million to be used for infrastructure for the new Wacker Chemie manufacturing plant. Another $1 million is proposed to cover the county’s commitment to construct the new APD 40 interchange near Exit 20. The city of Cleveland is matching this amount.
The Debt Service Fund proposal for next year reflects a drop from $7 million to $5.3 million due to a refinancing of the county’s debt.
“We were also able to get some Build America Bonds to help with the construction of schools,” Davis said following the commission meeting. “This enabled me to propose a reduction in the county’s debt service by $1 for the coming fiscal year.”
Davis cited the work of various county departments that responded favorably to his request for reduced spending. “By working together, we can survive this financial challenge and be financially stronger when the recession is over,” he said in a prepared statement.
In his presentation, Davis guided commissioners through the entire proposal and invited the governing body to closely scrutinize the numbers, but to do it cautiously.
“Make whatever changes you want to, but please do not add to the expenses because you would get below the 10 percent fund balance,” he explained. Davis reminded commissioners, “The citizens of Bradley County expect us to do what they’re having to do ... tighten our budget.”
Davis described the proposal as a “no frills” budget that reflects the economic times. “I am committed to a balanced budget without increasing taxes and I hope the County Commission will agree once they have reviewed my proposal,” Davis stressed.
The commission’s Finance Committee will begin its review of the budget proposal Thursday at noon. If the committee’s review is completed, recommendations will be presented to the full commission next week. The new 2010-11 fiscal year begins July 1.