ROGERSVILLE — The Hawkins County Commission’s Parks Committee approved a proposed 2013-14 department budget Thursday that is nearly $400 less than budgeted in the current fiscal year, despite the purchase of a “new” used pickup.
The county parks department was budgeted $151,054 for the current fiscal year, an increase of more than $40,000 from 2011-12 due partly to nearly $25,000 in improvements approved for the Laurel Run Park live-in caretaker’s residence.
The caretaker residence line item was reduced to $8,000 in the proposed 2013-14 budget to complete a home addition, install a bathroom and install cedar siding to the park office.
The biggest new expenditure proposed for 2013-14 included $15,000 for the purchase of a “new” used flatbed truck.
Park caretaker Joe Lindsey told the committee he needs a flatbed because some of the things he hauls at the park would tear the sides off of a regular pickup.
Other major new expenditures in the proposed budget include $2,000 for replacement of the transmission in the current 1999 Chevy pickup, a $2,000 increase for crushed stone to replace stone washed away from the Laurel Run Park parking lot in flooding, $2,500 for construction of a fishing pier at Laurel Run Park and $2,000 to replace large shelters at St. Clair.
Under the proposal, the new flatbed and the existing Chevy would be kept as the county’s two park vehicles. A smaller Nissan pickup currently used by park staff would likely be sold as surplus. Lindsey told the committee the Nissan isn’t practical as a work truck.
Hawkins County has two parks, including Laurel Run Park near Church Hill and St. Clair Park located about halfway between Rogersville and Bulls Gap.
“This is the best bargain the Hawkins County taxpayers get,” said committee member Joe McLain. “That’s a lot for that much money.”
The proposed park budget will be forwarded to the commission’s Budget Committee for consideration as it begins working on the proposed overall county 2013-14 fiscal year budget.
In other business Thursday, the committee heard a report from Commissioner Bob Palmer, who announced that the St. Clair Ruritan Club will host a ham supper at St. Clair School on Saturday to raise money for a proposed community center with kitchen at the St. Clair Park.
The supper is from 4-7 p.m., and the cost is $10.