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Putnam Budget Committee Chair Introduces New Proposal

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam Budget Committee Chair Introduces New Proposal

Putnam County Budget Committee Chair Ben Rodgers asked members to consider a new proposal Monday that includes employee raises but also cuts new employee positions.

Rodgers shared a $4 million plan. A reoccurring $2 million dollars from sales tax revenue that would increase emergency service salaries by $5,000 and $3,000 for all other employees.

“Here’s the thing,” Rodgers said. “For this to work with $4 million extra in revenue $2 million reoccurring, we cannot fund every request our county officials and department heads have come to us with. We cannot fill every position they’ve asked for.”

Rodgers said from his conversations with department heads, the raises have been a priority over new positions. Rodgers said the only way to afford all requests would be through a property tax increase.

“If you’re asking for my opinion, I don’t want to see that happen this year,” Rodgers said. “So my priority coming from me is to help our folks out with these raises, get our pay scale up so we can recruit. We have several departments that can’t even fill positions because of the starting salary.”

The other one-time $2 million from debt services would be used to help offset expenditures. Rogers said the plan overall reduces the current deficit from $4.5 million to $1.9 million without raising property taxes. The fund balance would also sit at about $16 million.

“It’s up to this committee to figure put if that’s what you want to do, have other options or whatever, but that’s my proposal,” Rodgers said.

No action was taken on the plan as Rogers asked committee members to take time to review. Rogers said a future discussion would need to be held to find where the up to $400,000 of budget cuts in the proposal will come from.

“We didn’t cut out any specific positions. It’s not my place to do it,” Rodgers said. “It’s a committee’s place, but we said what would happen if we took out 10 positions.”

Rogers’ plan comes after Commissioner Jonathan Williams $3 million proposal for emergency service raises presented last week. Williams said he supports Rogers’ plan but would like to see more money for emergency service workers.

“I don’t think you have to adopt every aspect of my plan,” Williams said. “Just like we don;t have to adopt every aspect of Ben’s plan. I think there is a compromise to be had somewhere in there.”

Rogers said he would like to see some funds voted on the next meeting on June 23rd. Rogers asked commissioners to come prepared with numbers for any other proposals.

“Have your mind made up if you want to do one or the other or none or a new,” Rodger said. “But, we’ve got to start passing. The school will be here . Probably won’t take as long since we had the joint meeting, and after that let’s start working on the general fund and other fund about how we are going to make this work.”

Porter said he asks all decisions to come before the 30th to give county time to create budget. Porter said then, he would make a final presentation.


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