Commission adopts 2019 budget– with last-minute changes

The Blount County Commission adopted the 2018-2019 fiscal year budget on the second call for a motion to adopt after the first call failed from lack of a motion. After the failure, Commissioners Mike Painter, Allen Armstrong, and Nick Washburn each requested an amendment to the budget.

Painter proposed an amendment reducing the line item for communications/computers and light bar equipment for new Blount County Sheriff’s Department vehicles from $40,000 to $20,000, stipulating that cost be split evenly between the commission and sheriff’s department, rather than funded entirely by the commission.

Armstrong proposed an amendment removing $117,500 from the sheriff’s department account for purchasing patrol vehicles, stipulating that the amount be placed in an escrow account until March of next year, pending the resolution of which make of patrol vehicles is to be purchased – Ford Explorers, Dodge Durangos, or Chevrolet Tahoes.

Washburn proposed an amendment to freeze each county department’s line item for general fund salaries/wages not to exceed the amount specified in the adopted budget, thereby preventing the transfer of funds in other subaccounts to the salaries account in order to hire additional employees.

When the call for a motion to adopt came after the proposed budget amendments were accepted for incorporation, the motion was quickly made, seconded, and unanimously approved.

The 2019 fiscal year total expenditure budget is $20,341,354 (after revision to accommodate same-day amendments), based on projected revenue of $19,210,912 for the period.

Notable this year in the budgeting process was the surprising absence of traditional and sometimes bitter conflict and delays in establishing the district road budgets, the budgets set aside for each district to spend at its own discretion in maintaining and improving local “pull-up” roads (generally not including county farm-to-market roads). This year, the process was virtually subliminal for the first time in memory.

The district road budgets are shown below by district:


District 1 $1,087,407
District 2 1,093,806
+ $ 100,000 special allocation
District 3 971,772
District 4 971,772
Total $4,124,757

total of district road maintenance budgets for use at the discretion of individual commissioners

In addition, District 2 was allotted a $100,000 “special road maintenance support” allocation to assist the district in reducing the maintenance backlog existing there, partly because it is the largest district in terms of road miles in the county. The allocation was given for the first time last year and continued for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

Next week, the newspaper will provide a breakdown of the budget by expenditure categories, along with other summary highlights, including Blount County Commission Chairman Chris Green’s comments on salient aspects of the budget.