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Cumberland’s Foster Told Bill Lee Keep Counties In Mind With New Budget

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cumberland’s Foster Told Bill Lee Keep Counties In Mind With New Budget

Cumberland County Mayor Allen Foster asked Governor Bill Lee to keep the county in mind as he moves toward finalizing his budget for the new fiscal year.

Foster was the lone Upper Cumberland representative among the four county mayors who attended the meeting last week. Foster said budgets are tight right now at the county level. He said that as counties change, property taxpayers often need help from the state government.

“We always have to be mindful of growth and the expenses that come with that,” Foster said. “So that’s what we were talking with the governor about, was to look at and to remember us when he’s creating that budget and any way that he could offset the burden of the property taxpayers.”

Foster said Lee was receptive to the request and open to the mayors’ ideas about ways to facilitate that funding. Foster said maintaining an open relationship with the state government is his most important job as mayor.

“Knowing the people that you’re going to make an ask of, knowing them so that they know you and they trust you and know that you’re not asking for something that’s not necessary, those relationships are very important,” Foster.

Foster said the state government often has extra money that they put into a “rainy day” fund. He said that as the budget for the new fiscal year gets closer to being completed, it is a fair ask to have some of those reserve funds dispersed to county governments.

“He’s always very open to ideas and very willing to work with the counties,” Foster said. “He understands that local government is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak.”

Foster said he believes Lee does a great job with his budget every year, and Cumberland County shares many of the financial values that the state holds.

“They do a very conservative budget,” Foster said. “In Cumberland County, I think we’re the same way. We have, I believe this year, the second-lowest property tax in the state of Tennessee, so we try to manage those funds as good as we can.”

Foster said the state has been willing to bless counties with one-time funding in the past, so he hopes to see something like that in the coming months. Lee will outline his budget early in 2024 following the Legislature’s convening.


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