Friday, July 19, 2024
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Overton Sends Budget Back To Committee

After a raucous, hour-long public hearing Monday, Overton County Commissioners sent the plans for a new fiscal year budget back to the budget committee.

Commissioners first considered a new salary schedule, but voted 11-4 against it. After that, Chairman Darwin Clark confirmed that they could not vote for the annual budget without the salary schedule.

“If they vote down, we voted down the salary schedule, then this is the portion of the budget that we’re going to be voting on, and that’s a part of the budget, so do we… Pass that, ok, that’s what I thought,” Clark said. “We’ll pass number twelve and send it back to the committee, ok?”

A property tax increase needed to increase employee salaries, according to County Executive Steven Barlow. Clark said the commission has been debating about the salary schedule for the past couple of months. He said he doubts a new budget will be ready for next month’s commission meeting.

“The court had the opportunity to vote for it,” Clark said. “They decided, of course, you know, with the public, not sympathy, but all the public engaging and upset about it, it’s harder to sit there and face them, and they knew that, you know, that we were – would look at trying to do what’s better and make it better.”

Clark said the county needs to pass a budget by August 31, otherwise the state will step in and create a budget themselves.

“When they do that, we have no control,” Clark said. “And they’ll set it whatever they want. Plus, they’ll set the property taxes the way they want, too, so, to meet their needs.”

Barlow said the annual budget will have to be revisited by the budget committee, get approved by the commission, and then a notice must run in the newspaper for ten days before it can return to full court.

“This is not my rules, it’s the state of Tennessee’s rules,” Barlow said.