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Proposed Putnam County Budget To Go Before Full Commission For Consideration

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Proposed Putnam County Budget To Go Before Full Commission For Consideration

The Putnam County Budget Committee will not meet Thursday night after county officials confirmed the 18.6 cent property tax increase would meet the budgetary needs.

The proposed budget including marketplace pay adjustments and 91 new employees, now goes to the County Commission on July 31 for approval.

County Commission Chair Ben Rodgers said he believes the commission will move forward with the proposal.

“At first I was not going to vote for 2.75 cents, I’m going to look still at more revenue trends we have going, can we make up for the $6.5 million this year’s fund balance and then I’ll decide what I’m going to do,” Rodgers said. “But I believe the majority will approve this and the department heads will be happy and we can continue doing what we do in Putnam County.”

Rodgers said while the county has a good fund balance because of strong revenue and high interest rates, the county’s strong fund balance will depend on the coming fiscal year. He said if sales taxes and interest rates stay high, he thinks the county will be okay and not have to worry about raising taxes again the following year.

Rodgers said that the fund balance essentially cash flows the county for the first part of the fiscal year. He said the two revenues funding the county are the general fund and property taxes, which do not start coming in until tax season between October and February.

“I was in favor of using some of the fund balance, it scares me a little to use $6.5 million, that brings us back down to $18 million and our expenditure is going to around $59 to $60 million, so you’re at 30 percent then,” Rodgers said. “Which is still a good saving. The Comptroller’s Office, they recommend at least 20 percent so we’re okay there.”

Rodgers said if this current budget is passed, he believes Putnam County will be competitive with surrounding counties and private sectors. He said not only are they attracting more people to come work for the county, but they are also retaining employees, namely in the EMS, Fire, and Sheriff’s Departments.

“I would grade a success for the taxpayer for sure,” Rodgers said. “I think the whole thought was we’re trying to do what we can for department heads and elected officials but at the same time not put a big burden on the taxpayer. And so it’s a win for the taxpayer. Is it a win for the county? You know we’ll have to see.”


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