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Sullivan County budget still in limbo

J. H. Osborne • Jul 15, 2013 at 12:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — The Sullivan County Commission’s Budget Committee plans to meet in called session later this week to perhaps begin putting together a proposed county budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.

During its regular monthly meeting last week, the group discussed the budget at length, at least from the requested spending side.

Commissioner Eddie Williams, longtime chairman of the budget committee, said hopefully the group will be able to go over some revenue projections this week that should be “close” to reality.

Williams suggested the group plans to meet Thursday at 7 p.m. on the second floor of the historic Sullivan County Courthouse.

The County Commission’s other two primary committees — executive and administrative — each have completed reviews of departmental or organizational funding requests under their purview and have submitted their recommendations on each to the budget committee.

The budget committee, in turn, ultimately puts together a comprehensive budget proposal — which it will recommend to the full commission.

Williams said that even with just funding mandatory or contractually required increases in certain accounts and without any other new spending for the year, the county still will need to find about $800,000 somewhere.

“We’ve got to either increase revenue or increase cuts to get there,” Williams said.

The budget committee spent most of its last meeting going over all funding requests, line by line. Williams said he wanted members to be fully aware of all the information and of the other two committees’ recommendations, and take time to consider it all before necessarily calling for a vote.

Most members of the group, however, said they did not need to wait for revenue projections to know that they support continued funding for some things the administrative committee recommended be cut.

So, the budget committee went ahead and voted to include funding again this year for Educate and Grow — which provides scholarship money for high school graduates in the county who want to pursue higher education at Northeast State Community College.

The committee also went on record in favor of continuing funding levels for all the fire departments and rescue squads in the county.

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