published Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Bradley sees ‘flat’ revenue

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Projected Bradley County revenue for the 2011-12 budget year is almost identical to the original budget for the current year.

“Revenue is flat,” County Mayor D. Gary Davis told the County Commission Finance Committee on Wednesday.

The original general fund budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30 was $30,935,972. The projected budget for the year beginning July 1 is $30,969,880.

The budget includes most county services but it is not the only budget. The school system, road department, public library and other needs have separate budgets. The largest local government budget, the county schools general fund, is projected to be $63.2 million for 2011-12.

And as the fiscal year closes, the numbers still can change somewhat, Davis said.

A raise for county employees, the first in three years, should be the first priority for any additional funds, the mayor said.

After another year of flat revenue, Davis said money from payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements, known as PILOTs, should begin to come to the county from the new industries and expansions of existing ones.

PILOT agreements are tax breaks that are used to lure companies such as Volkswagen and Wacker Chemical. Under the agreements, businesses don’t have to pay full property taxes for a certain number of years, but they must pay the share of property tax that is slated for schools.

The Finance Committee, meanwhile, is urging county government department heads to not issue end-of-the-year bonuses, even if they have the money left in their budgets. Some departments have given such bonuses in the past.

Commissioner Ed Elkins also suggested the committee not approve creation of new personnel positions when some departments seek to combine part-time jobs.

“We ought to take the position that we are not going to approve any new full-time employees,” Elkins said.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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