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Commission Approves 2010-2011 Budget
by Ashley Murphy

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

After a quick appointment from Mayor D. Gary Davis, Commissioner Ben Atchley opened the meeting with a discussion about this year's budget. Atchley explained to the public how the budget is set up, beginning with department heads, who work out their own budget and submit them separately. Once submitted to the Mayor, the Mayor and Finance Director Lynn Burns make a proposal.

This final proposal is then sent to the Finance Committee for review and the Finance Committee will send their final recommendation on to the Bradley County Commission for voting. If passed, the final copy of the budget is set in place.

Atchley reiterated that no taxes were raised in order to balance this budget and no jobs were compromised.

Commissioner Connie Wilson continued the discussion by adding that she has been serving the 2nd District on the Commission for the past 8 years and in those years, no tax increase has yet to occur. Wilson stated that this was probably one the most difficult budget years in her serving period, due to keeping a balanced budget, not raising taxes and not laying off employees. All of those reasons, according to Wilson, is why she will support this year's budget.

Commissioner Lisa Stanbery then expressed her concern for lack of policy following. The fund balance as is falls below the 10% set mark that the commission voted to put in place, creating a violation of policy.

Atchley responded saying that he believes the fund balance will even itself out in the next couple of weeks and will rest above the 10% mark. He went on to say that if it saves residents a tax increase and saves jobs, then he supports the presented budget and closed by adding, "Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures."

When it came time to vote on appropriations made to the Budget for FY 2010-2011, the motion passed with Commissioner Ed Elkins and Stanbery voting against the Budget.

Stanbery also voted against a motion to fix the tax levy. For fiscal year beginning July 1, 2010, the combined property tax rate for Bradley County shall be $1.792 on each $100 of taxable property. The revenue generated will be split between various county funds.

A motion to fix the tax levy of the county fire district passed unanimously for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2010. The County Fire District now set at $0.3356 on each $100 of taxable property located within the county, but outside of the Urban Fringe Fire District; and $0.4070 on each $100 of taxable property located within the Urban Fringe Fire District.

The last item on the agenda drew several opponents when the commission shifted into a public meeting. Many residents came to oppose the rezoning of a plot of land on Blue Springs Lane from FAR to C-1 in order for a business to make appropriations.

Amber Allen, a resident of Blue Springs Lane, stated that it is a small community with several close-knit families on this portion of the extremely narrow dead-end road. She stated there had been a business in the vicinity before which had contaminated water and killed livestock. There is currently a small business located on the road that was grand-fathered in when zoning was set in place, but Allen stated they are quiet and the residents don't mind them at all. However, she added that allowing another business to freely move in and have all commercial zoning privileges could hurt the community.

Several other residents came forward and expressed their concerns, as well, and stated their wishes to not have this zoning request approved. The motion to rezone failed, with Commissioner Mel Griffith voting for the rezoning.

The Bradley County Commission will meet again on Monday, July 12, 2010 at Noon in the Courthouse.