County Commission unanimously approves $679 million budget

Kirk Kelly, interim superintendent and Christy Jordan, assistant superintendent of finance present the school budget during the Hamilton County Commission meeting Tuesday.

UPDATE: The Hamilton County Commission this morning has unanimously approved a $679 million budget. The vote was 8-0 in favor, with one commissioner not present.

The Hamilton County Commission votes today on a $679 million budget for 2017.

Mayor Jim Coppinger's budget proposal amounts to a $14.3 million increase over last year and includes a 2.5 percent salary bump for county employees. It does not include a property tax increase and discretionary funds for county commissioners. The proposal marks the second year in a row that Coppinger has left out the special project money for commissioners.

Last year, six commissioners voted to take $900,000 out of the county's $90 million general fund balance to use as discretionary money.

The six commissioners - Chester Bankston, Tim Boyd, Randy Fairbanks, Jim Fields, Warren Mackey and Sabrena Smedley - did not publicly discuss the matter; they just voted to allocate money from what essentially serves as the county's savings.