Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

December 5, 2013

Understanding the Cumberland County Commission

By John Kinnunen
Sun contributor

CROSSVILLE — Understanding the workings of our county's government is important for all of us here in Cumberland County. We must remember and use this information so all of our voices can be heard! Remember, "Knowledge is power!"

This article will be a continuation of my explanation of our county's government. In the previous two articles I failed to mention the committees for which I am directly responsible. Each commissioner is appointed to a number of both standing and statutory committees. My main responsibilities are with the School and County Education Committee, of which I am chairman, the County Agricultural Extension Committee, the Delinquent Tax Committee, Debt Management Committee and lastly, the Budget Committee.

The Budget Committee will be this week's discussion topic. Fairfield Glade residents hopefully are interested in this committee as this group controls the amount of property taxes we all pay each year as well as how our tax money is spent.

It is the duty of the Budget Committee to thoroughly study of all departments of government, relative to their budget requirements for the upcoming year. This committee performs all duties respecting county budget and appropriations and holds public hearings before the adoption of this final budget. This is achieved by obtaining recommendations on finance from all other county committees and departments for the next fiscal year.

After comparing each budget request with the amount of revenue expected for the following year, the state of Tennessee then tells us the amount of money we must allot to the county's board of education for the running of our schools for the upcoming year. This is an extremely important process, as nearly half of our county's budget is delegated to the education of our children.

The next important challenge for the Budget Committee is to determine if the remainder of our available revenue is enough to meet our budget requirements. It is at this time that the committee recommends to the entire county commission what the yearly property tax rate should be. Therefore, in order to meet the county's needs for the upcoming year, the Budget Committee then requests approval from the entire commission. It must be remembered that the county commissioners need to study, review and then vote on two issues: the county tax rate for the upcoming year and then the yearly budget.

Our committee recently notified all county departments requesting their participation in the development of a five year capital expenditures plan. This plan will allow for long term planning to enhance and improve resource management in Cumberland County and maximize value for our taxpayers.

I would like to take this time to wish all of you a very happy and safe holiday season. These articles will resume just after our celebration of this past year and remember, I look forward to continuing our work together in the upcoming years. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 9thdistrictffg@comcast.net or at 267-5112.