Jefferson County Commission Budget Committee First Meeting Of Season

The Jefferson County Budget Committee convened this week to begin work on the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget. Due to considerations for the spread of Covid-19 ( coronavirus) Budget Chair Scarlett, Finance Director Potts, Jefferson County Mayor Mark Potts, Jefferson County Facilities Director Longmire and Jefferson County Technology Manager Mike Bolton were the only ones present in the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse. Budget Committee Members were on conference call for the meeting. All were present for the call with the exception of Committee Member Walker.

Besides regular committee business, including budget amendments which were all unanimously approved, the committee moved to post pone action on the Hospital Reserve Fund, which is north of the $7 million dollar mark. In question was putting stipulations on the fund that would require a 2/3 majority vote to use the fund with the exception of balancing the budget. Committee Members Phagan and Reed questioned taking up the item for vote at a time that the public is unable to attend and be heard. In a split vote, the item was rolled to the April meeting in hopes that more public input might be available. The committee approved a request from Mayor Potts to fund up to $10,000 for senior meals as a part of a joint effort of the municipalities, Bush Brothers, Chamber of Commerce and the Dandridge Food Pantry. Coordinating the effort is the Jefferson County Office on Aging.

In an effort to make progress in the budgeting process, the committee voted 7-0-2 ( abstaining with cause) to approve funding for the various Fire Departments in Jefferson County at the level and with the stipulations that they are funded in the current budget cycle. Facilities Director Longmire addressed the committee to explain requested funding for building needs. Also discussed was debt service and hotel/ motel occupancy tax.

The next meeting of the Budget Committee will address the remaining non profits. Non Profits that are not requesting any increases will not be required to attend the next meeting.