Loudon Countians may face tax increase

 Elizabeth Trexler News-Herald

The Loudon County Budget Committee is recommending a tax increase to fund phase one of the school building program. The committee is suggesting putting an additional 20 pennies in the fund to help offset the cost.

The budget committee has been meeting on and off since April, studying the proposed budgets from each department, line by line.

The committee also decided that county employees will receive a 1.6 percent bonus and clerical employees will have a raise based on the number of years of service.

The committee is not recommending the new TCRS benefit package for pubic safety officers.
Commissioner Austin Shaver said "not in this economy."

One area of the budget that faced many cuts was non-profit contributions.

Child and Family Tennessee was asking for a contribution from the county, however, Commissioner Don Miller said it sounded like a lot of duplication of services. The committee voted to recommend not giving any money to the group.

It is recommended that the Adult Community Training be awarded $2,500, half of what they were asking for. Health Education Alliance  may receive $10,000, also receive half of what they asked for.

Iva's Place asked for $35,000, in the current proposed budget they may be awarded $5,000. The Child Advocacy Center also asked for $35,000, however the committee is recommending they receive $30,000.

The committee has recommended the Hearing and Speech Center not receive any county funding. Also facing no county funds are the Little Tennessee Valley Education Cooperative and the Senior Citizen Home Assistance.

Loudon County Mayor Estelle Herron wanted to increase the amount in general debt service, in order to help fund a new jail. However, that failed.

"If we have to raise taxes, I want to raise them as little as possible," Shaver said.

In their studying, the committee would look at expenditures to date and base the budget off that, taking into account any foreseen extenuating circumstances.

For example, due to the March 2012 elections, postal charges for the election commission were increased from $4,000 to $12,000, as the commission has to contact everyone who has moved.

The election commission indicated reasonable expenses associated with the election would be reimbursed by the state.

The total budget for the year is still in the works, according to Tracy Blair, director of account and budgets. The approximate expenditures are $58,000,000.

The Loudon County Commission will have a public hearing 6 p.m. June 22 at the Courthouse Annex. There will then be a 1 p.m. meeting of the budget committee at the County Offices on June 23. On June 27 the Loudon County Commission will have a workshop at the annex. On June 30 there will be a special called meeting at 6 p.m. at the annex to vote on the budget.