BLOUNTVILLE — Sullivan County has two choices: Cut services or raise taxes.
That, at least, emerged as the recurring theme Monday as the Sullivan County Commission’s Administrative Committee had yet another “hearing” on the annual budget that begins in about six weeks.
The committee made no decisions Monday, agreeing instead to next discuss the sections of the budget under their purview early next month.
Most of the hearing Monday was devoted to discussing Sheriff Wayne Anderson’s budget requests for the sheriff’s office, jail, workhouse, day worker and other programs under his authority.
Anderson and his staff presented updated figures for a portion of those requests — which now include requested increases totaling more than $1.4 million in new money.
Much of the requested increases are to cover rising fuel, food and medical costs — as well as overtime and the resulting boost in benefits — all of which helped push the county’s budget for the jail and sheriff’s accounts into a shortfall this year.
Commissioner Dwight King told Anderson the county is broke and simply can’t pay for anything else.
“We’re either going to have to cut services or raise taxes,” King said — a position echoed later in the discussion by other committee members.
“We’re bleeding to death,” Anderson said. “I don’t want to cut services to the citizens.”
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