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Commissioners Pleased With Budget Process

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

As the Putnam County Commission continues its budget work Monday night at a budget committee meeting, several committee members said they are happy with the progress made so far.

District 11 Commissioner Kathy Dunn said she is pleased with the work the county’s department heads have done crafting their budgets.

“I think they’ve done an exceptional job keeping in mind our sales tax dollars are down, sales tax revenue and hotel-motel tax,” Dunn said. “I think they’ve all come in cutting their budgets from last year. I commend them for the jobs they’ve done on bringing their budgets forward this year.”

District 2 Commissioner Jim Martin agreed. He said given the uncertainties with revenue projections, officials came back with a conservative budget.

“Given what we could give them, or what (County Mayor) Randy (Porter) could give them from a budget standpoint,” Martin said, “I think they’ve done an excellent job of trying to pare it down to keep our expenditures down until we get a better estimate of our revenue.”

With revenue projections pointing downward, Dunn said she was worried that huge cuts would have to be made. Although some planned expenditures may have to wait, Dunn said large cuts are not expected.

“I was very concerned not knowing what that was going to look like,” Dunn said. “The process, we’re not through it yet. We’ve only had our preliminary meeting, so I was very relieved to see how each department head had brought forth their budgets, and, like I said, how conservative they’ve been.”

Martin said he believes that with a history of fiscal responsibility, Putnam County is in a good position to weather a financial storm. If things get really bad, he said the county is in a good position if it needs to borrow.

“The county government has always had a demeanor of not overspending and trying to keep our liquidity,” Martin said. “Certainly we want to manage the tax dollars the best we can. There’s also another part of that. We really haven’t had to borrow a lot of money in the market except for the big capital expenditures like schools and the expansion of some buildings. But our bond rating is such that we do get a lower rate on any borrowings that we have because of our financial stability.”

Both Dunn and Martin said they are hopeful that a conservative budget will benefit Putnam County. Martin said if revenues do come in higher than expected, taking a careful approach in the next year can help keep the county on track for a successful future.


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