Committee member Ed Elkins asked for the elimination of a full-time position that was to be created and keep it as a part-time position.
“In effect, what we’ve done, if we approve this the way its proposed ... we’ve grown Bradley County government in a down year,” Elkins said.
The finance director for the county, Lynn Burns, said she thought the Election Commission was trying to reinstate a full-time position that had been replaced with a part-time position in a previous year.
Elkins said he had not been aware of that, but did not withdraw his motion.
During the meeting, Bradley County Sheriff Jim Ruth submitted a request to the committee to consider a merit-based, step-pay plan that had been previously submitted to the law enforcement committee.
Ruth showed how money allocated to the Sheriff’s Office in the proposed budget could be moved to make the plan possible.
Finance committee member Terry Caywood asked if the cuts to make the step-plan possible would force the BCSO to requestsmore money mid-year.
Ruth said he did not think they would. It would be a sacrifice, but it could be done, according to the sheriff.
He said items that could not be sacrificed would not change. One area that brought concern was moving money allocated for gasoline.
The sheriff said plans for reducing the money BCSO spends on gasoline have been implemented. Under the step plan, conservation would also include not giving first-year deputies an assigned car, and having two officers in the same car during night shifts.
Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis said the money the sheriff proposed taking from capital projects to fund the step-plan could not be used.
He explained once funds are allocated for capital projects they cannot be used to fund a reoccurring expense such as salaries, he explained.
The finance committee did not vote on the plan because members wanted time to see if there was some other way the plan could be implemented.
Elkins said he would like to see all county employees eventually moved to a merit-based pay system.
The committee did not discuss the Bradley County Schools budget at the meeting.
Committee chair Connie Wilson said she would like to have a separate meeting to discuss the school’s budget. During that meeting she would also like the finance committee to make a final note on the proposal the schools had submitted for capital projects, particularly addressing issues at Lake Forest Middle School and the need for expansion at Walker Valley High School.
The capital projects plan was submitted to the finance committee before the budget process began. A final yes or no vote to the plan has not been made.
The finance committee also approved final amendments for the 2010-11 budget for several departments during the meeting. Errors in the proposed 2011-12 budget were also corrected during the meeting. Departments can appeal the proposed 2011-12 budget on June 20 before the full Commission.