Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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Putnam Committee Recommends New Budget Draft After Several Cuts

The Putnam County Budget Committee cut about $695,000 of departmental requests Monday in order to better balance its new fiscal year budget.

The cuts included eight requested positions, four from EMS, three firefighters, and one mechanic. Some $200,000 worth of EMS equipment and a sheriff’s vehicle were also cut.

The plan still includes money from the county’s savings to cover an overage from the new compensation plan and other departmental requests. Committee Member Mike Atwood asked members to stay mindful of the future.

“It scares me to death, I don’t mind telling you,” Atwood said. “I don’t know where the other cuts come from. I really don’t. I’ve used my crystal ball as much as I can to find it, but it does scare me that is where we are”

Chair Ben Rodgers said the thing that makes him feel better about the proposal is the flexibility of the county’s capital projects. Rodgers said, if need be, the county can slow down its capital projects if the economy slows further.

“I know we think ahead, we have a five-year plan, and we know what we need to spend on capital projects, but we don’t have to spend it, Rodgers said. “So mayor and I talked quite a bit about that, and so, I feel a little bit better, but I’m like you Mr. Atwood. It’s unpredictable. We do need to be cautious.”

The committee voted to recommend the 2022-2023 fiscal year budget to the full commission. The county’s fund balance would be around $17 million under the proposed budget. Mayor Randy Porter ended the last committee meeting with praise to its members.

“I think y’all did a great job,” Porter said. “The one thing that you did is you took care of our county employees this year which is our greatest asset. We had to make some cuts in other places, but I think you had to do what you had to do.”

The proposal includes no tax increase, but a small change was made to the penny allocation. The committee approved for 7/10 of one cent of property tax to fund the compensation plan for solid waste and parks and recreation. Porter said 4/10 will go to solid waste and 3/10 to parks and rec.

A small change was also made to the Veteran’s Office new secretary position. Porter said since the new office will not open for several months, the salary was halved to account for the construction time until opening.

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