County No-Tax-Increase Budget Includes $7.2 Million In New Spending; County Employee Raise Higher Than City's

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

County Mayor Jim Coppinger on Wednesday presented a no-tax-increase budget that includes $7.2 million in higher spending.

The county budget of $672,535,000 includes a 2.5 percent pay increase for employees. City employees are set to get 1.5 percent. A number of city employees went before the City Council on Tuesday night saying the raise should be higher.

County Mayor Coppinger said the budget focuses on "education and public safety." He said 59.4 percent of county spending is going to the schools and the sheriff 's budget is up $1.9 million for operations. The county schools will get a $5.1 million increase to $399 million.

The higher sheriff funding will allow the hiring of eight new correctional officers at the county jail at a cost of $454,000. It funds 30 new sheriff vehicles.

The county mayor said there will be four fewer employees in county government - down from 1,319 to 1,315. He said two positions are down in the property assessor's office after a reappraisal was finished. General Sessions Court Judge Ron Durby, who has been getting county disability payments, is now off the payroll. The Criminal Court clerk's office is down one employee.

County Mayor Coppinger said medical costs are up 12 percent - a rise of $2.4 million.

He said the controversial $100,000 each for the nine County Commission members for "discretionary spending" is going off the county books. It will be taken from a line of credit.

To meet the budget, $2.6 million is being taken from the county fund balance, $2 million from the county schools fund balance and $600,000 from the sheriff and Juvenile Court clerk fund balances.

The county mayor said the county in the current year set aside $3.5 million from fund balance, but wound up not using any of that amount.

The budget anticipates a rise in property tax revenue of $2.3 million, an increase in EPB in-lieu-of-taxes payments of $419,000, and a rise of $391,000 in state taxes, including the Hall Tax.

Pension costs are up $2 million, while debt service costs are down $2.67 million.

   


Corker’s Bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act Becomes Law

Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after the president signed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 into law. The bill, which passed the Senate 98 to 1 and the House of Representatives 400 to 25, requires congressional review of any final nuclear agreement with Iran before the president can waive sanctions ... (click for more)

Varnell Man, Cohutta Woman Were Among Victims When Truck Went Out Of Control On Freeway Near Savannah

Jerry Earnest, 71, of Varnell, Ga., and 72-year-old Glenda Adams of Cohutta, Ga., were among the victims when a tractor-trailer went out of control on a busy freeway near Savannah, Ga., on Tuesday. The semi hit two cars before bursting into flames on I-16. Three other people were killed. Authorities said the driver may have fallen asleep. Seven vehicles were damaged in ... (click for more)

Don't Make A Mockery Of Memorial Day - And Response

We're told Memorial Day is the day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order that we, as Americans and others around the world, might live free, unshackled (invisible or otherwise) and without oppression. But how is that so when so many in America continue to be denied those freedoms? Others whose family and friends made the ultimate sacrifice? Their surviving families ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chincoteague Mourns ‘Dude’

In the span of a person’s life, there are some things that simply can’t be explained to be totally understood. And of all the spectacles I have ever personally witnessed, one of the best is that day in late July when they “pen the ponies” at Chincoteague Island, Va. I’m serious. Over 50,000 people watch every year as volunteer “Saltwater Cowboys” swim the wild ponies to the mainland ... (click for more)

Baylor Beats GPS 6-4 For D-II Softball Title

MURFREESBORO – Oh, what a difference a year makes. The GPS Bruisers came through the losers bracket a year ago and beat Baylor twice after losing the first five times they played, but those two were the biggest as it gave the team in blue a state D-II softball championship. The situation was similar a year later, but the results a bit different as the Lady Red Raiders beat ... (click for more)

Baylor To Face GPS Again For D-II State Softball Title

MURFREESBORO – It will be another Baylor-GPS battle for the championship in Division II softball as Baylor advanced with a 10-3 win over St. Benedict while GPS later beat the Lady Eagles by a 2-0 final for the right to face the Lady Red Raiders again. This year’s D-II tournament was similar to last year as Baylor beat GPS on the first day before the Bruisers came back and beat ... (click for more)