Budget and Murphy's Law

Jun 06 - mkamplain
Our County
D. Gary Davis
County Mayor

Have you ever been given a task to complete that consumes your every waking hour? Have you ever noticed that Murphy’s Law (anything that can go wrong, will go wrong) has a way of entering in to this equation? If you have, you are not alone! Many who attempt the completion of any task soon find that there are or will be many detractions and obstacles to overcome before the finish line is crossed. How we respond to these "life interruptions” are what "makes us who we are” and either insures victory or allows us to accept defeat.

I am not immune from these "opportunities” either. Those who know me best understand that "budget time” is a time of intense debate, "conversation” and meetings that leaves little time for anything else. These 2 to 3 months are spent in finding the best use of limited funds for maximum impact. I hope that you appreciate our efforts to present not only a balanced budget to the Bradley County Commission for a vote, but one in which we continue to live within our means.

You may have read previous news articles concerning the budget for 2017 – 2018. The goals and highlights are:

1) No tax increase.
2) A 2% raise for employees, if possible.
3) Maintain fund balance of approximately 20%.
4) Capital Project Fund, with growth dollars, to pay the extra $2 ½ million for Lake Forest (over 3 years).

As President Trump’s budget director said recently when he presented the federal budget proposal, "This budget has compassion for the taxpayers.” "Compassion for the taxpayers” is what Bradley County’s budget proposal has had for many years and continues with this budget. Continuing to provide the level of services that our citizens have come to expect and deserve, without a tax increase!

After a very difficult budget process this year we again have one that is fiscally sound & based on conservative estimates. Most departments did as we asked & requested no increase. Some departments requested even less and of course a few requested more. I reminded our Bradley County Commission, that they asked me to put every penny possible into the "other capital project fund” for the additional $2 ½ million for Lake Forest. Needless to say, I have made minor cuts throughout, to get this proposed budget balanced and presented to the Bradley County Commission.

The result after all expenditures in the general fund is a $10.7 million, fund balance! With this budget, every single department in the general fund will continue to provide the level of service that our citizens have come to expect. The road fund meets the 5 year average required by law and the schools have a 2 million dollar increase, due mostly to state funding. And a 2% raise for full time employees is included in this budget proposal.

The 5 budgets with the largest increase, including raises, are: Schools $2 million, Justice Center $219,000, Sheriff $180,235, 911 Center $100,000 and Property Assessor $85,367.

Debt Service includes:
$3 Million Industrial Park Bonds with Hotel/Motel Revenue to cover cost.
$2 Million in Bonds for the Work Release Addition, with revenue from operations to cover cost.

Other Capital Projects is a new fund, following the request of Finance. It was created by consolidating the General Capital Project Fund, the Education Capital Project Fund & a few fractions of a penny moved from most all others. This is what was meant when you have heard me say, numerous times, "We will re-allocate every single dollar possible to this new fund to pay for the additional $2 ½ million that this commission approved for Lake Forest.”

An over 400 page budget request document, covering over 70 departments, has now been reduced to a 100 + page budget document by the help of every department, elected official and employee of Bradley County working together to reach this significant achievement. I appreciate the opportunity to work together in our efforts to not only present this budget, but to also serve those who call Bradley County our home. This extra effort by all, and the defeat of Murphy’s Law, is not only appreciated, it is one of the reasons Bradley County is Tennessee at its Best!

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