The county commission tomorrow at 3 p.m. inside the Deathstar will vote on county Mayor Tim Burchett's proposed budget.
There's been a lot of talk about this one, but there should never have been any surprises. Burchett said he was going to cut the heck out of a lot of things when he campaigned. And cut he did.
This morning the mayor and the county's Financial Minister, John Troyer, were on the radio talking about the budget. A few minutes later, Commissioner Amy Broyles and The Man with the Badge, Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones got on to talk about some of Broyles proposed changes that would give employees raises – something they haven't had in four or so years.
In the meantime, there's a number of other proposed budget amendments that commissioners have thrown around, not the least of which is Mike Brown's idea – I don't think anyone has talked about this one yet – that would give employees the summer off.
This morning, the fine folks at the county commission office/department, sent me over the “2nd Revision” proposed budget amendments. It was dated last Thursday (June 9).
So, in case you're not keeping up, here's a look at the proposals:
Chairman Mike Hammond: Reinstate each commissioner's $3,000 slush fund, I mean discretionary fund. But, they won't get to spend this coin at will. Items must be placed on the agenda for commissioners to vote. They also must be put on the commission website. And each request must define how the money will be used.
Commissioner Sam McKenzie: Add $138,000 to the Beck Cultural Center; reinstate $50,0000 to KAT Seniors Ride Free Program; reinstate $66,000 to the slush fund; add $25,000 back to commissioner's travel to reinstate the $300 a month in coin they used to get until the mayor cut it and suggested they fill out mileage reimbursement forms. He also wants to cut $364,000 in additional money to the engineering department that was supposed to pave roads – none of which will be in his district, since it's city-inclusive. And, he wants to suspend the $2.8 million Outlet Drive project. He says the net savings will be $85,000.
Vice Chairman Brad Anders: Eliminate the Great Schools Partnership Budget ($2.6 million) to use for a 2 percent employee pay increase. He also wants to reinstate the commission travel allowance.
Commissioner Amy Broyles: She wants to add a 3 percent step increase for county workers, increase the Ijams budget, revisit the Legacy Parks budget, revisit employee layoffs; eliminate HOPE Resource Center budget and reinstate $75,000 to the KAT program. Broyles' plan would take about $3.5 million from the additional $5 million the mayor's budget proposes to pay down the debt.
Commissioner Mike Brown: He wants to cut payroll expense by letting workers leave at 2:30 p.m. and/or by letting them take off for the summer. (There are so many things wrong with this plan if you're a county worker, I couldn't even begin to describe them. If you're a resident, then be happy because it would actually save a whole lot more money than Brown anticipates, since the employees won't be getting insurance, either. Ever.) He also wants to add a 2 percent increase for county workers by taking money out of the rainy day fund.