Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

June 15, 2012

Panel okays BOE's funding request at $15.9 million

CROSSVILLE — The Cumberland County Budget Committee approved the Board of Education's funding request of $15,948,000 for the 2012-'13 fiscal year during Tuesday night's budget meeting.

Although there was some discussion, there was little to no controversy between the two entities that has often dominated budget discussions of past years.

The request is part of the BOE's $52.7 million budget in which the BOE is asking for no more funding from the county than what is required by the state.

Revenue projected in the BOE's budget includes the Basic Education Program payment from the state of $28 million and the county's required match of $15.94 million.

The county's portion comes from property taxes, local option sales tax and other local revenues. Total revenue is estimated at $46 million. The county's required match is up $482,000 over last year's budget.

"You plan on using the $6.7 million fund balance?" Carmin Lynch, 9th District commissioner and budget committee chairman, asked.

"Yes, $6.7 million in expenses. $4.6 million of that is non-recurring and about $2 million in recurring," said Cumberland County Director of Schools Aarona VanWinkle.
The $6.68 million in expenditures in the BOE budget will be paid for by using the school system's fund balance, bringing it to an estimated $2.023 million at the end of the next fiscal year. That is just above the three percent match, $1.56 million, required by the state to be set aside.

"If this flows according to budget you will end up with about a $1 million fund balance and that will be less than the three-percent required," Lynch said.

"We are more than confident it won't drop down that low because some of the projects won't be done until the end of the budget year and will extend into next year," VanWinkle said.

"I don't know why you show it then in this year's budget," Lynch said.

"It has to be shown. It may be set up as a separate project at the end of the budget cycle," VanWinkle said.

"Any further questions?" Lynch asked commissioners.

"I don't, but I'm going to say something before I make a motion on this. I think setting up the (daycare) in the school system like you're doing out there (at Homestead) is wrong. You're taking the taxpayer's money and setting up something like this and it takes away from private businesses that are in the community," Harvel said.

Harvel then moved to fund the BOE's budget at $15,948,000.

His motion was supported by Sonya Rimmer, 8th District commissioner, and approved unanimously.

"We will come back to you with the penny distribution once we get the certified tax rate," Lynch said to VanWinkle.

Lynch said, "Just with the school board budget alone we are looking at a four or five-cent property tax increase."

That is based on the previous tax rate and distribution. It could be different depending on how the tax rate is equalized after the board of equalization sets the rate after this year's tax reappraisal.

Lynch said, "We also have to keep in mind what we are looking at for the county with looking at the county wage scale, three full-time employee positions, general fund capital projects and Justice Center rework."

Several commissioners attended the meeting as well as Board of Education members Sandy Brewer, 3rd District, and BOE Chairman Dan Schlafer.

The county also approved the Cumberland County School Nutrition Program's Central Cafeteria Fund budget.

The food service budget, which was presented to the committee by VanWinkle, shows proposed expenditures for the 2012-'13 school year to be $4,014,884, which is an increase of $270,465 over this year's. Total estimated revenues are listed at $4,019,403, which is an increase of $268,703. Revenues from the federal government is listed at $2,874,850.

The estimated year-end fund balance for the food service fund is proposed at $830,535.

"Please tell (Kathy Hamby) we appreciate her budget and the way it is prepared and explained," Lynch said.

It was approved unanimously after a motion was made by Harvel. Harvel's motion was supported by Nancy Hyder, 2nd District commissioner.

The BOE budget will be part of the full county budget, which has to be approved by the full Cumberland County Commission. Commissioners on the budget committee plan to have the full budget sent to the county commission for a vote at its July monthly meeting.

Thursday night the budget committee planned to discuss revenues in the general fund and how much to budget for the Big South Fork Visitor's Center.

Lynch pointed out there are no costs for utilities listed in the proposed BSF budget.

"I think we need to show it so we know all that we have to prepare for. We may cut it in half cause it may only be open for a few months in next year's budget, but we've got to show it," Harvel said.

Commissioner Rimmer agreed and suggested only budgeting half of the funds.

Commissioners agreed to have Cumberland County Finance Director Nathan Brock show a net expenditure of $20,000 for the Big South Fork Visitor's Center, which would be half of the cost. The other half would be funded by the city of Crossville.

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