It does not include a property tax increase, but adequately funds the essential services necessary for the health and safety of Bradley County residents. It holds the line on spending, provides adequate reserves and, in my opinion, reflects the taxpayers’ wishes that government live within its means.
While the regional economy is slightly improved, the county cannot assume strong growth in local sales tax revenues. However, the continued improvement in the county’s unemployment rate, which now stands at 7.7 percent, and the growth in both commercial and housing building permits, are signs that our local economy is improving somewhat.
The total proposed budget for 2013-14 is $125,292,000. The budget is based upon the current tax rate of $1.79 with 58 percent of the tax rate going to education. The general fund is $32,907,000; some 41 percent of the general fund is used to fund Bradley County Law Enforcement. Although not as much as I would have liked, this budget increases the Fund Balance to 13 percent from 10 percent last year, and, once again, pays down the county’s debt by $4.1 million. If this proposal is adopted by the County Commission we will have paid $14,203,563 on the county’s debt since 2010.
Funds to operate three new fire stations are also included in the new budget. These funds will come from the existing fringe area fire tax when the fire contract with the city expires June 30.
I am proud that once again, due to our strong fiscal controls and good management practices, Bradley County has maintained its AA- bond rating and received the “Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.” This prestigious award is presented by the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada. Bradley County is one of just 21 local governments in Tennessee to be honored by GFOA.
I want to commend the Bradley County Commission, all elected county officials, my department heads and my Finance Department staff for their support and hard work in helping me achieve these accomplishments. We will continue to do whatever we can to provide our citizens with the best government and services possible, at the lowest possible cost.
My proposal is now in the hands of county commissioners. It is a "no frills” budget reflecting the economic times. I am committed to a balanced budget without increasing taxes and hope commissioners will agree once they have reviewed my proposal.
For those of you wishing to get a copy of the current budget, it is available on the county's website at www.bradleyco.net/acct_budgets.aspx. The 2013-14 budget will be available on the website after it is approved by the County Commission.