The DeKalb County Commission is expected to adopt budgets for all county departments and establish the property tax rate for the 2012-13 fiscal year during their next regular meeting on Monday, July 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the basement courtroom of the courthouse.
(CLICK THE FOLLOWING PDF LINK TO VIEW THE PROPOSED COUNTY BUDGET FOR 2012-13. THE BUDGET HAS NOT YET BEEN APPROVED BY THE COUNTY COMMISSION)
The budget committee of the county commission voted to recommend passage of the budgets during a meeting held Tuesday night, June 19. "I think its kind of a very basic budget that's not got any new ideas or new things in it much. Its kind of a continuation of the budget we're in this year," said County Mayor Mike Foster.
No pay raises are included in this budget for county general employees right now but Foster said the county is considering establishing a step increase plan for county employees, possibly later in the budget year. The County Technical Advisory Service (CTAS) may be consulted in assisting the county in developing such a wage scale, possibly taking into consideration job title and years of service. "We're going to be looking at it in August and September after we close the books in July to see where we are. We hope to institute a step system based on job classification and years of service. That would be primarily for all county employees, especially where there are like positions throughout the county," said County Mayor Foster. "We have asked the County Technical Advisory Service (CTAS) to do this study for us (wage scale). "They will give us the information and then help us structure it. They work with a lot of different counties and they'll kind of base it on some of the other counties and job duties that the employees have,'"he said.
Last year (2011-2012), the county budgeted a new four tiered salary pay scale for employees of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department to bring their salaries more in line with other law enforcement agencies in the area.
Total appropriations come to $40-million 039-thousand 837 dollars.
The county property tax rate would remain at $1.62 per $100 of assessed value. One cent of the tax rate generates $42,548 in local money with a 7% delinquency rate figured into the equation.
The proposed tax rate is broken down as follows:
County General: 82 cents
Highway/Public Works: 3 cents
General Capital Projects: 10 cents
Debt Service: 12 cents
General Purpose Schools: 55 cents.
The solid waste fund, under this budget, would not receive any property tax money but would continue to be supported by revenues derived from payment-in-lieu of taxes, local option sale taxes, hotel-motel tax, bank excise tax and wholesale beer tax, etc. Up until three years ago, the solid waste fund was supported by a portion of the property tax rate. Since then the tax rate previously designated for solid waste, 20 cents, has been added to the general fund, and the payment-in-lieu of taxes has been removed from the general fund and placed in the solid waste category of the budget.
Capital projects fund expenses for the year include:
*Motor Vehicles (Ambulance)-$117,000. "We've got in there to purchase a new ambulance this year. We have been remounting the ones that we've had but you can only do that a certain number of times so this time we've got to buy one," said Foster
*Other equipment (Power Cots for Ambulance Service)-$65,000
*Furniture and fixtures (County Complex)-$30,000
*Motor vehicles (Patrol Cars for Sheriff's Department)- $80,000
*Other Construction-$65,000 "This is for probably part of a roof and to finish up work the county complex. We have to put in ceiling tile in a small area and floor tiles." said Foster.
*Other equipment (Fire Department Turnout Gear and Compressor)- $45,000
* Solid Waste Equipment (Roll Back Garbage Truck)- $145,000
The beginning fund balance for county general to start the fiscal year, 2012-13, is expected to be $3.2 million, but projections are that by the end of the budget year next June, it could be $2.7 million, meaning the county may have to dip into its fund balance for operation during the year. "They (fund balances) are pretty strong but this budget proposes that we will probably spend a little more money than we are taking in, which I don't like. We did that (projected deficit spending) last year but we're actually going to come out in the black. I just don't know exactly how much. We generally over estimate expenditures and under estimate revenues to build in a little cushion. It looks like we're going to come out with maybe a $400,000 to $500,000 fund balance in the black this year," said Foster. Fund balances for all county departments combined come to $14.4 million to begin the new year, 2012-13 and are projected to be $11.9 million by June 30, 2013.
Except for a few odds and ends, the county complex is complete. "We're still waiting on the basketball goals to come in for the gym and two or three little odds and ends, but its pretty well finished. We have two part-time positions (at the complex) and we'll have another part-time position to operate the sound equipment when we have a band performing out there," said Foster.
The county complex project cost the county less than budget estimates, according to Foster. "It actually cost us less than we budgeted for, which is a really good thing, and pretty unusual when you're talking about construction. We wound up with about $44 a square foot in it. The people who do our risk assessment came in without knowing what we spent on it and valued it at almost $100 per square foot. They have assessed the building alone at about seven million dollars. About $2.7 million is what it cost to remodel it plus the price we gave for it of $750,000. That's about $3.4 million which is considerably less than we thought we would have in it. We had some money budgeted in there on up to four million dollars," he said.
Foster said he is hopeful that revenues generated from rental fees at the complex will help offset the costs of operation. " I think we're a good bit ahead of what we estimated that the revenue would be out there (at the complex). Its hard to know yet but it looks like it may be three to four thousand dollars a month. That's a good thing because it will pretty well pay for itself as far as the employees. Hopefully, it will bring in $40,000 to $50,000 in revenue. As far as somebody there to maintain it and operate it, we're hoping its about the same amount of money (as the revenue). The biggest thing that I see that we probably didn't plan for (at the complex) is maintenance of the floors out there. But we are really pleased with our utility bills out there because it and the courthouse have consistently been under what we estimated they were going to be. When we built it, we added some energy efficiency things to that building and its probably running about 45% of what we estimated it was going to be," said Foster.
The school board's requests have been met in this budget including a building/roofing plan, proposed to be funded with a $3.4 million note over a 12 year period.
A summary of the proposed extras in the new school budget are as follows:
A 2.5% increase for teachers along with the regular step increases and degree advancements
A local 2.5% increase for support staff along with the regular step increases per salary schedule
An increase of 9% for projected health insurance costs
The addition of one math teacher at DCHS
The addition of two extra teaching positions (one for kindergarten and one for DMS sixth grade) if needed due to enrollment (currently unassigned)
Putting custodians on twelve month contracts instead of the current ten month contracts
Replacing Bookkeeping Computers for the School Bookkeepers
Additional costs in Special Education due to contracted services
Normal increases for utilities, transportation fuel, and for supplies.
The food service budget, which is self supporting, includes a 2.5% increase for support staff with step increases as per salary schedules. The central office bookkeeper under food service will go from an 11 month to a 12 month position.
The spending plan calls for $600,000 in local funding to meet a 12.5% FEMA grant match for building eight tornado "safe rooms" at DeKalb West School. During the April school board meeting, Director Mark Willoughby announced that the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency had approved grant funds of more than $1.5 million for the safe room project at DeKalb West School, pending final approval by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The $3.4 million note would cover the $600,000 grant match, an $850,000 cafeteria and kitchen renovation project at DeKalb West School; a $1.1 million DeKalb Middle School roof project (roof and removal of metal overhang soffit), a $700,000 DeKalb West School roof project (roof and removal of metal overhang soffit and seal off gymnasium); and an $85,000 Smithville Elementary School roof project (8,000 square feet of the roof).
Three cents of the property tax rate, $127,645 helps support the county highway department along with a mineral severance tax, $25,000, Other than that, Foster said all of the county road department's budget is funded by state allocations, mostly state gas tax revenues
Proposed expenditures for each department are as follows:
County General Fund: $6,861,550
Courthouse and Jail Maintenance: $68,255
Local Purpose Tax Fund: $2,169,820
Solid Waste/Sanitation: $1,582,037
Drug Control: $34,616
Highways/Public Works: $2,467,965
General Purpose School Fund: $19,959,698
Central Cafeteria: $1,794,125
Debt Service: $1,149,880
General Capital Projects: $551,891
Education Capital Projects Fund: $3,400,000
The county commission is also expected to adopt a resolution July 23 making appropriations of $135,387 to the following non-profit organizations:
DeKalb Sparks Softball- $150
Upper Cumberland Development District- $3,411
Tennessee Division of Forestry-$1,500
DeKalb County Rescue Squad- $11,500
Plateau Mental Health-$7,180
Senior Citizens Program-$26,378
DeKalb Soil Conservation District-$29,592
DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce-$15,000
Imagination Library- $7,200
Genesis House- $1,500
Upper Cumberland Child Advocacy Center- $1,780
DeKalb County Fair- $1,500
Upper Cumberland Human Resources-$1,200
UCHRA Assessment-Homemaker Aide, etc-$9,245