Sullivan panel could begin putting together budget plan

J. H. Osborne • Jul 23, 2013 at 11:01 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — The Sullivan County Commission’s Budget Committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday night to perhaps begin putting together a proposed county budget for the fiscal year that began three weeks ago.

During its regular monthly meeting two weeks ago, the group discussed the budget at length, at least from the requested spending side.

Commissioner Eddie Williams, longtime chairman of the committee, said then that hopefully the group would be able to go over some revenue projections that should be “close” to reality. But a called meeting scheduled for last week was canceled and rescheduled for tonight.

The County Commission’s other two primary committees — executive and administrative — each completed reviews of departmental or organizational funding requests under their purview, and submitted their recommendations on each to the Budget Committee prior to the first of this month.

The Budget Committee ultimately puts together a comprehensive budget proposal — which it will recommend to the full commission.

At the Budget Committee’s last meeting, 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 someplace.

“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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