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Van Buren Officials Address Rumors On County’s Financial Shape

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Van Buren Officials Address Rumors On County’s Financial Shape

Van Buren County Commissioner Brian Simmons ended Tuesday’s commission meeting with a message to the community: the financial state of the county is the best it’s ever been.

“Basically, what I was wanting to do is just shut down all these rumors that I hear everyday of how Van Buren County is broke and the school system is broke,” “We got more money in this county than we have ever had.”

Mayor Greg Wilson said he has noticed recent campaign videos over the county’s poor financial state. He said those are simply not true. Wilson said when he entered office in 2014, the general fund had $191,000. Wilson said the county now stands at least $1.5 million above that mark.

“I’m sitting there thinking well that’s a lie,” Wilson said. “It was. It was a political thing, and it just really upset me. I didn’t create this. The county trustee did, and I know she’s right and she does a good job. That’s from her numbers. We don’t just make this up.”

The school system’s funds have also improved. Director of Schools Cheryl Cole said the school’s general fund will finish next fiscal year just under $2 million. Commissioner William Maxwell said over the years, he believes the commission made the right decisions to get to this point.

“The budget is very difficult to understand, and until you get in the trenches and work on this and understand it, it is hard to have a good understanding of how this budget operates and see what condition the county is in. Yes, there were hard decisions that had to be made, but those decision were for the betterment of this county.”

Wilson said those decisions included an increase in wheel tax and property tax.

Wilson also addressed an agreement with the state regarding the closing of the Fall Creek Falls Inn. Wilson said the state made an agreement to supplement the tax revenue lost from the closing.

“The state never gave Van Buren County money because we were broke, and we were never broke,” Wilson said. “That was a lot of misinformation. Not from the Comptroller’s Office, but a lot of people saying things that are not true.”

Wilson said the money was split with the school system and did not make that much of an impact to the budget.


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