After months of labor and dozens of meetings the Cumberland County Commission's budget committee is ready to present to the public and to the full commission this year's budget which will show no tax increase and not a lot of drastic changes over last fiscal year's document.

On July 18 at 6 p.m. in the courthouse the budget committee will host a public hearing on the $80 million dollar budget during which time members of the commission and the public can ask questions about how their tax dollars are going to be spent. The full commission is expected to vote on the proposed budget at the 7 p.m. meeting.

Last week the committee met to handle some last minute chores which included addressing what to do with 3 cents of undesignated taxes. The tax rate for fiscal year 2011-12 is proposed at $1.245.

One-half cent of the three cents is planned for the county school system to meet local requirements of the Better Education Program and the remaining 2.5 cents was voted to go toward debt service.

During the meeting last week members of the committee also talked about the need to address extending the county pay scale, which is topped out at 20 years.

Some on the committee expressed a desire to extend the pay scale to 30 years, the same as the 30-year state retirement scale. While no figure was agreed upon, what commissioners did seem to be in agreement with was taking time to study not only extending the pay scale, but to study the impact such action would have on future budgets.

In a related issue, Finance Director Nathan Brock said that while studying pay levels past 20 years, the committee might also want to look into paying insurance for those with 30 years of service if they retire. This program is ongoing in the school system.

And Johnny Presley said he thinks the county should adopt a 30-year mandatory retirement policy to allow younger workers a chance to apply for more county jobs.

Further study of pay levels and all the related issues will be revisited after the budget process is completed.

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