Greene County pushes budget talks to July; Various local counties discuss spending plans

GREENE COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Greene County commissioners couldn’t come to an agreement on the county’s budget Thursday night in their second meeting of the week.

City and county leaders in the Tri-Cities are still working to agree on spending plans for this upcoming fiscal year.

Some of them include Hawkins County where a wheel tax increase of $40 is up for discussion.

Sullivan County is still waiting on a property tax assessment to come back from the state in order to determine how to set the property tax and Kingsport has actually lowered their tax rate.

Carter County leaders are also discussing a potential tax increase, their vote is next month.

Washington County, TN and Johnson City have no planned tax increases.

Monday night the Greene County Commission met for hours but failed to agree on a county budget and Thursday night they picked up where they left off but commissioners could not come to agreement on how to move forward.

The commission voted 15-3 to pull the budget resolution out of the agenda and revisit it at their next meeting.

They also unanimously voted to postpone a potential tax rate adjustment vote, also for their July meeting.

The commission is still working to figure out how to balance the budget and deal with a $1.7 million dollar budget imbalance.

“Obviously we were in a stalemate, I mean there wasn’t any movement to get the budget moved through to have a discussion on the tax levy so there comes a point in time where we’re going to have 10-8 votes all night long,” Greene County Mayor David Crum said.

Mayor Crum and other commissioners also brought up waiting until the three absent commissioners tonight were present, to have all input. Jason Cobble, Josh Kesterson and James Randolph were not there.

Commissioner Gerald Miller was one of a couple of commissioners who proposed changes.

Commissioner Eddie Jennings proposed cutting 4% from the budget across the board but that didn’t pass.

Miller was hoping to increase the budget by 6.5 %, reflecting growth and the requirements from the state and keeping everything else from last year, but it didn’t move forward.

“As we examined what was prepared by Mister Lowry our budget director we soon learned that that just didn’t add up and that’s why I asked that that be pulled,” Miller said.

Miller said he wants to rework the numbers for the upcoming meeting.

Monday, the commission also worked out around $800,000 in cuts including to EMS.

Nothing is final until 11 or more commissioners approve the budget and the property tax rate.

The commission will meet again July 17.

Mayor Crum said the county commission either will have to increase taxes or draw from its savings, something the county’s already done before.

Johnson City, Sullivan County and Hawkins County leaders all have budget meetings scheduled for Monday of next week.

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