The first reading of the county budget went relatively swiftly Monday night during the regular monthly meeting of the Metropolitan Lynchburg Moore County Council.
Budget committee chairman Tommy Brown went through a short list of proposed changes to the budget, which effects the 2014-15 fiscal year. Among the most notable is the change that is not likely: no tax increases.
The budget committee has recommended a 3 percent raise for all county employees, as well as an increase in pay from $20 per month to $50 per month for each county commissioner.
County employees were given a 3 percent raise last year as well.
Also in this year’s proposed budget is an increase in fire hydrant installation by $10,000; a purchase of an ambulance; and a purchase of one patrol car for the sheriff’s department.
Metro Mayor Sloan Stewart said this money will come from the county general fund.
With no tax increase, the overall property tax in Moore County remains at $2.43 ($2.47 in urban services areas). That is per $100 of taxable property based on the most recent appraisal.
The County General Fund gets $.85, with $.10 going to solid waste and $.015 going to the highway department. The school system gets $1.19. None of those figures have changed from a year ago.
The only difference this year is that Debt Services will receive $.16 rather than $.26 and the Capital Project Fund will receive $.115 instead of $.015.
The first reading passed unanimously per a roll-call vote.
The budget will be up for its second reading at the council’s June meeting.
In other business, the county council approved the Ragnar Relay, clearing the way for the 200-mile relay-style team marathon to run through Moore County. Citing safety and timing concerns, the council denied the requests of Ragnar Relay officials last year because the event coincided with the annual Jack Daniel’s World Championship Barbecue.
While some council members had some of the same concerns this year, Metro Moore County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Robin Holt said that because relay officials approached the council with enough advanced notice, his department would be able to assist this year.
“As long as we know this early in the year, we can accommodate them,” said Holt. “With this much time, I think we should be able to help.”
Relay officials have asked for a deputy to help with runners crossing state Route 55 onto Ledford Mill Rd., where runners will stop briefly at Motlow College. Ragnar Relay officials would be responsible for the cost of providing the deputy.
State building codes
The council also heard a proposal from councilman Korby Holcomb (1st-Dist.) for Moore County to opt out of the Tennessee State Building Codes. Citing an increase in fees and possible over regulation, Holcomb suggested that the county adopt its own codes and do away with the state codes.
After hearing input from other councilmen, as well as county attorney John T. Bobo, the council decided to readdress the issue at its June meeting, which would give Bobo more time to research the legalities that would come with the change, as well as any liability the county may have to home owner and home buyers.
—By ROBERT HOLMAN, editor & publisher