Several aspects of the budget have been widely discussed and disputed over the past few weeks, but last week these discussions came to an end when Blount County commissioners voted on resolutions regarding the 2019-20 fiscal year budget.
The commission voted to keep the property tax rate at the same level as the past three years — $2.47 per $100 of assessed property.
Of the $2.47 rate, 88 cents will go to general county expenses, 98 cents to general education expenses split among the three school districts and 44 cents to pay back debt.
Disputes took place regarding the 14 cents allocated toward the Education Capital Projects. This fund would provide taxpayer money to make school repairs.
Commissioners voted on an amendment to alter the current Education Capital Fund. The amendment, suggested by Commissioner Mike Akard, proposed that only 4 of the 14 cents dedicated to the Education Capital Fund would be appropriated, while the other 10 cents would be set aside until the school system needed the money.
“There’s a massive amount of work that needs to be done and I want this commission to remain involved in seeing that we have the opportunity to address the items of importance by appropriating the money when the projects are presented to us,” Akard said.
The 14 cents going to education capital projects for Blount County Schools totals an amount of $5,465,740 intended to be used on renovations.
Additionally, 3 cents, totaling $1,270,719, will go to a new general capital fund for the county.
Another area of discussion was that of library funding.
At Thursday’s meeting, Commissioner Brian Robbins proposed that the $179,445 not be reallocated back into the county’s library fund, claiming that if it was, the commission would have to “continue that (funding) on down the line.”
Ultimately, this was opposed, and after months of turmoil, nearly $180,000 was added back to the county’s library fund to cover pay and benefit raises recommended countywide by a consultant.
Full lists of the amounts of money dedicated to each county fund can be accessed on Blount County’s website, www.blounttn.org.