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Employee Pay Major Factor In Overton Budget Plans

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Employee Pay Major Factor In Overton Budget Plans

Overton County Executive Steven Barlow has employee cost of living on his mind as the county’s budget process begins.

Barlow said Overton County Commissioners will have some big decisions to make in June as they finalize the budget. He said the county has not raised taxes in a decade, but prices have skyrocketed since then. He said finding a way to pay employees enough to keep them around without raising taxes could be a challenge.

“We’re in need,” Barlow said. “We’re going to have to put our heads together and see what it’s going to take to start growing. But, the cost of living and the price of things nowadays have gone through the roof and we’re on the same budget we were 10 years ago.”

Barlow said the city of Livingston pays employees some $3 more than the county. He said some county employees are living below the poverty line, and only three people working for the county can afford family insurance. He said as department heads present their proposed budgets, he and the county commissioners will get a clearer picture of how to proceed.

“If you look at the housing costs nowadays, I feel sorry for the new couples getting married, because these houses three years ago that cost $120,000 are now $400,000,” Barlow said.

He said the county will hold workshops over the next month and bring in CTAS representatives to educate and train decision-makers on where the county’s biggest needs lie. Barlow said a lot was cut in last year’s budget.

“They’ve got to look at what’s coming in and what people need to run their office efficiently,” Barlow said. “If we’re living on bread and water, you know, you’re not going to be able to run your office the way you need it ran. They’re going to look at that. If you can’t pay employees, you’re not going to have employees. You have to look at that.”


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