Elkins says won't vote for Bradley budget

Elkins says won't vote for Bradley budget

July 1st, 2010 by Randall Higgins in Politics Local

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The chairman of the Bradley County Finance Committee says he can't vote in favor of the 2010-11 Bradley County budget Tuesday.

Commissioner Ed Elkins passed out copies of a statement at a commission meeting Monday evening.

"I'm sure the mayor has the votes necessary to pass the budget as proposed, and if it is passed I will do everything I can to support it and make it work," Mr. Elkins concluded in his three-page statement.

But County Mayor D. Gary Davis said Mr. Elkins is opposing his own committee's budget proposal.

"I presented my budget proposal to the County Commission on June 6," Mr. Davis said. "The Finance Committee then met, went over my proposal and made six minor changes. Commissioner Elkins voted to approve five of those. At that point, it became the Finance Committee's proposal, not mine.

"So I'm confused as to why Mr. Elkins can't support his own committee's budget proposal," Mr. Davis said.

Mr. Elkins earlier said Mr. Davis and Finance Director Lynn Burns did a "yeoman's job" putting together a budget that reduced spending and didn't raise taxes. But he also said he had concerns about the plan.

He said he wondered "how the same number of FY 2010 employees, plus one additional employee for FY 2011, will be supported by a budget that has been reduced by $2.5 million as compared to the current budget with final amendments."

Mr. Elkins also said commissioners should have been told earlier about significant end-of-the-year amendments to the current budget.

"When we incorporate material changes to the budget involving how we pay for various needs, it makes it very difficult to track year-to-year changes and do comparative analyses," Mr. Elkins said.

The proposed general fund budget is a little more than $31 million. The proposed capital projects budget is $2.9 million. That includes $1.5 million for infrastructure The city of Cleveland is matching that commitment.

Mr. Davis said previously that refinancing the county's debt lowered debt service costs. Using Build America Bonds to help build schools, he said, saved $1 million in debt service for the proposed budget.

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