There will be no property tax increase in Cumberland County for fiscal year 2019-’20, following adoption of the $110.3 million Monday night by the Cumberland County Commission in a 14-2 vote.
An attempt to add $100,000 to the sheriff’s office failed.
Rebecca Stone, 3rd District commissioner and budget committee chairwoman, cautioned the commissioners.
“I don’t recommend picking apart the budget by line item now or we run the risk of unraveling the entire budget,” she said.
Stone said not every department got everything they requested, but most got a portion of what they requested and it was a fair and balanced budget.
Jim Blalock, 8th District commissioner, moved to amend the budget and take $100,000 from the county’s general fund to pay for overtime Sheriff Casey Cox had requested.
Cox had requested $80,000 in overtime funds, but was approved for $60,000. He had also requested $40,000 for overtime for the county jail, but was awarded $20,000.
John Patterson, 9th District commissioner, supported the motion.
Voting in favor of amending the budget were commissioners Kyle Davis, 2nd District; Darrell Threet, 3rd District; Jack Davis, 5th District; Blalock, Carl MacCleod, 9th District; and Patterson.
Chad Norris, 1st District; and David Gibson, 4th District, both declared a conflict since they work for the sheriff’s office and abstained from the vote. That left it at an 8-6 failing vote.
Then, voting on the original resolution for the budget, Blalock and Patterson voted no.
Blalock said, “It’s not a fair budget to all the employees.”
Also included in the $110.3 million is the Cumberland County School system’s $59.2 million budget. The BOE did not request any additional funding beyond what was required by the state. The BOE anticipates using $3.7 million of its fund balance for one-time projects, leaving $291,214 over the required 3% minimum reserve in the budget.
The county unanimously approved the first resolution and set the tax rate at $1.5653 on $100 of taxable property to provide revenue for the county.
The resolution that sets the tax rate also set the tax penny distribution at 64.11 cents for the general fund; 14.07 cents for the solid waste fund; 54.10 cents for the general purpose school fund; and 24.25 cents for the county’s debt service fund.
In setting the tax levy Threet said he voted yes reluctantly.
“I think we could have done better,” he said.
Patterson said he concurred with Threet.
After the meeting Patterson said, “The sheriff’s office, EMS and fire departments are all doing a fantastic job, and they’re all being underfunded by the county.”
Total estimated revenues for the general fund are $25,403,478 and total expenditures are $27,600,582. The budget is over by $2.2 million, which will be offset by the county’s fund balance, leaving an estimated ending fund balance of $4.7 million.
The county also unanimously approved the final resolution to fund the following nonprofit, charitable organizations in the county as part of fiscal year 2019-’20 budget:
•Crossville Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce — $52,500.
•Rescue Squad — $12,000
•HIlltoppers — $17,100
•Veterans Honor Guard — $4,500, increased from $4,000 last year.
•Wags and whiskers — $4,000
•Fairfield Glade Fire Department — $20,000
•Young Marines — $1,200
•Cumberland County Playhouse — $17,500, increased from last year’s funding of $11,500.
•Avalon Center — $5,000, new funding request.
•CASA — $5,500, new funding request.
•Pleasant Hill Historical Society — $5,000, new funding request.
•Fair Park Senior Center $25,775
Highlights included in the county’s general fund personnel areas are a 2% salary cost-of-living increase for full- and part-time county employees, three new sheriff’s road deputy positions with vehicles for a total of eight new vehicles, and two new full-time Advanced Emergency Medical Technician positions. The county clerk’s office is also receiving one new full-time employee and the community complex is getting a part-time position increased to full-time.
Some of the highlights from the capital outlay purchases approved in the budget include:
Fire Department, 101 SCBA breathing apparatus at $516,600
Emergency Management Agency, Ford F-150 truck to pull hazmat trailer, $17,500
EMA, UPS battery at $15,225
EMS, used vehicle to haul equipment for rescues, $10,000
Animal Shelter, $21,000 for fencing and perimeter gravel/paving, $21,000
Preservation of records/archives, two laptop computers, $2,188
Archives, three PC computers, $2,100
Archives, one digital screen mobile stand, $1,400
Community Complex, asphalt sealer, $6,000
Community Complex, amp and arena sound system, $15,000
Community Complex, 17 new outdoor electrical boxes, $5,000
Community Complex, 10 RV hookups, $4,000
Community Complex, loader tractor, $35,000
County Mayor, new office furniture, $7,500
Register of deeds, new computers or cabinet, $8,500
Election commission, 17 election pole pad computers, $25,925
County maintenance, 26 windows at courthouse, $19,000
County maintenance, new gutters at courthouse, $29,873
County maintenance, exterior washing of courthouse $6,680
County maintenance, 175 exterior lighting LED lights at courthouse, $27,873
County maintenance, circulation pump, $4,500
County maintenance, roofing shingles at Chamber of Commerce, $10,850
County maintenance, water booster pump at county jail, $6,500
County maintenance, cooling tower cleaning at county jail, $2,500
County maintenance, five new roof top HVAC units at county jail, $76,534
Circuit court clerk, 15 chairs $2,250
Circuit court clerk, new mainframe, $5,000
Sheriff’s office, five new patrol vehicles, $175,000
Sheriff’s office, new exterior glass door, $8,620
County jail, MTI audio board, $18,316
County jail, walk-in cooler and freezer racks, $7,000
County jail, dry storage racks, $9,000
County jail, carpeting in courtroom number 1, $9,408
EMS parking lot repaving/repairs, $76,000
Before the special-called meeting there was a public hearing allowing the public the opportunity to ask questions or make comments regarding the budget.
Cumberland County residents Cliff Segar and Craig Clark made comments.
Clark said he appreciated the budget committee’s work and requested they raise the funding for overtime for the sheriff’s office as requested from $60,000 to $80,000 and on the jail overtime from $20,000 to $40,000.
Segar thanked the committee and commissioners and suggested in the future they have more reserve funds and plan for larger purchases for the sheriff’s office and fire department instead of having to deal with big “crunch times.”
Deborah Holbrook, 8th District commissioner, did not attend the meeting.