Coppinger Presents Bare Bones Budget That Still Could Be Revised Down

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

County Mayor Jim Coppinger on Tuesday morning presented a bare bones budget that still could be revised downward by reductions from the state.

The county mayor said he is confident with the county's revenue projections. However, if there are more cuts coming, he said the county enjoys a healthy rainy day fund. It stands at $110 million - the same as last year.

The total county budget is $796,679,000 - up .03 percent from the current $794,188,000.

County Mayor Coppinger said the property tax and unincorporated sales tax are projected to be flat when the Internet tax and other items are figured in.

The county expects to spend $3.4 million dealing with the coronavirus, but he said much of that may be reimbursed by the state and federal governments. The county expects to recoup all of the $1.5 million spent at the Baylor School testing lab as well as 87.5 percent of the remainder. A $1.1 million decrease in the gas tax is expected.

The county mayor said the budget will include no employee pay increases, no new county positions and no new county services. On the positive side, employees will not face any new insurance or pension costs, he said.

The budget will not include additional funds to make shift changes for the ambulance service aimed at greater retention of employees. It does include money to buy three new ambulances.

County Mayor Coppinger said the Department of Education would be receiving from the county $$2,491,000 less than last year.

He said the county will have to hold off on $70 million to $80 million in school facilities improvements as well as $20 million for jail improvements.

The county spends $32.6 million a year incarcerating criminals.

There were $30,770,000 in requests for capital expenditures. The county is only able to fulfill $7,369,000.

The hotel/motel tax fund is expected to drop from $8.8 million to $4.5 million. That does not affect the county budget as all those funds go to the Chattanooga Tourism Company (Visitors Bureau).


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