published Thursday, June 5th, 2014

“Another tight year” foreseen for Bradley County's budget

D. Gary Davis
D. Gary Davis
Photo by Paul Leach /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — A 2 percent salary increase for full-time employees is among highlights of Bradley County’s proposed 2014-15 budget, a plan that requests no tax hikes but calls for growing the general fund and projects minimal growth in revenues and expenses.

“Most of the [department] budgets are the same as this year, and many of them are less than this year,” County Mayor D. Gary Davis said recently while reviewing the $33.4 million budget with county commissioners.

Davis said 14 departments asked for less money.

The largest dollar increases for the county general fund come from vehicle expenses for the Justice Center, the sheriff’s office and emergency medical services, Davis said.

Bradley County EMS and the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office accounted for net increases of $121,878 and $33,247 respectively, he said. The Justice Center had a $108,227 increase.

Davis said these vehicle-related expenditures have been paid through the county’s capital budget in recent years in an effort to help departmental budgets “when the economy went sour.” Putting them back with the departments is a move toward reversing that, he said.

The proposed budget for the county projects a 1.6 percent increase in revenues and a 1.6 percent increase in expenditures, he said.

Davis said the general fund balance will increase from $4.4 million in the current fiscal year to $5.9 million in the proposed 2014-15 budget. That represents a growth of 13 percent to 17 percent as expressed as a percent of the total budget, he said.

“It looks like another tight year,” County Commission Chairman Louie Alford said.

County leaders also expressed concern that the Bradley County Schools budget had not been approved and sent to the mayor’s office by the time of Davis’s presentation on Monday.

The Bradley County Board of Education, which had grappled with how much money to allocate for capital expenditures, passed a $69.3 million budget late Wednesday.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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