County budget reflects struggling economy



 

 

The Blount County Commission last week passed a 2012 expenditure budget that – at 8.6 percent below last year – is a mirror image of the state and national economy. At $16,496,317 it is 4.5 percent less than the 2010 budget, and 3 percent less than the 2009 budget. It is roughly equivalent to the 2008 fiscal year budget, the year the economy began its plunge into what has been popularly called “The Great Recession.”

In this edition, The Blount Countian presents its annual breakdowns of the budget as passed by the commission. It is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the budget for the coming year, along with a comparative glimpse at the past.

It is not, however, definitive. Analysis is limitby ed to providing the monetary numbers and acknowledging larger trends that are obvious to nonprofessionals. Perusing them thoughtfully will give the reader a sense of the scope of operations of county government and a rough gauge of priorities.

 

 

The complete budget is contained in a 400-odd-page looseleaf binder available for public scrutiny in the county commission office. The Blount Countian encourages citizens to review the budget themselves

/ for a more complete analysis and to ask whatever questions are necessary to reach their own conclusions.

Notes on the budget were contributed by county administrator Ralph Mitchell and supplemented by The Blount Countian. Probate Judge David Standridge contributed an article in which he assays to explain one of the more difficult questions he is frequently asked by citizens: Why can’t funds allocated for one purpose be easily moved to meet another need whenever such a need – such as road repair – seems pressing? See his explanation on pg. A13.

Comparison of 2011/ 2012 budgets by line item
General Government 2011 2012
Revenue commission $789,803 $781,239
Tax maintenance 672,807 681,844
Probate judge/office 518,488 498,635
County building maintenance 455,142 472,012
Blount County public transportation 433,371 442,990
Maintenance and grounds dept. 434,092 420,416
County commission 409,506 366,546
Capital improvement 200,000 200,000
Elections expense 61,485 159,716
Data processing dept. 94,672 84,833
Chamber of Commerce 63,000 63,000
Personnel dept. 68,679 60,807
License inspector 56,976 55,386
Board of voter registration 54,347 54,347
County attorneys 50,000 50,000
Training/travel/miscellaneous **** 36,300
Regional Planning Commission 22,756 25,783
Soil Conservation Service 12,000 11,400
Board of Tax Equalization 10,300 10,300
Forestry Commission 10,000 9,500
Court reporter 8,989 8,989
Tourism 4,000 4,000
Circuit/district court office expense 3,650 3,650
Birmingham Business Alliance 3,000 3,000
Merit board 2,500 2,500
Veterans’ service office 1,550 1,550
District attorney 1,900 1,500
Circuit clerk 1,400 1,400
Examiner of public accounts 600 600
Total General Government Expenses $4,446,015 $4,512,242

****$36,300, but included by the newspaper in departmental expense last year.

Public Safety
Sheriff’s dept. $2,640,456 $2,656,441
Jail 1,871,707 1,846,782
School resource officers 459,327 440,121
Volunteer fire departments 152,200 174,000
Emergency management office 163,711 159,879
Youth services 64,833 65,170
Coroner’s office 40,781 40,187
E-911 office 41,000 36,846
Jail, part-time 64,590 36,510
Probation office 3,000 3,000
Total Public Safety Expense $5,502,603 $5,458,935
Highways and Roads
Countywide road expense 1,632,450 130,190
District 1 road budget 921,105 977,347
District 2 road budget 849,550 934,254
District 3 road budget 849,550 903,734
District 4 road budget 849,550 903,734
County engineering office 520,070 540,031
County shop expense 184,502 0
Districts miscellaneous 34,600 34,600
Software maint./ advertising 4,600 4,600
Total Highways and Roads Expense $5,811,380 $5,128,490
Sanitation
Transfer station (landfill) expense 896,506 269,153
County line sewer 10,000 10,000
Total Sanitation Expense $906,506 $279,153
Health
Animal control/adoption shelter $187,742 $183,719
Mental health officer 73,572 71,982
Animal control officer 75,268 65,172
County mental health building 11,055 11,055
Hope House 6,000 6,000
Total Health Expense $353,637 $337,928
Welfare
Public transortation for elderly 90,098 97,015
Juvenile probation 76,241 71,879
Senior services 70,316 70,343
Adult day health 33,116 33,422
Children’s Center 27,000 27,000
Freedom Ranch maintenance 10,500 9,000
Indigent burial services 2,000 2,000
Court-appointed Spec. Adv. ( CASA) 1,500 1,500
Retired Seniors Volunteer Prog. (RSVP) 1,500 1,500
Red Cross 1,000 0
Total Welfare Expense $ 313,271 $313,659
Culture and Recreation
Park and rec./Palisades Park 261,766 255,249
Agribusiness Center 116,709 114,521
Memorial Museum 22,511 22,511
Oneonta Library 19,200 19,200
Blountsville Library 12,800 12,800
CAWACO 2,000 2,000
Total Culture and Rec. Expense $434,986 $426,281
Education
County extension service 36,450 34,628
County board of education 5,000 5,000
Total Education Expense $41,450 $39,628
Debt Services
Total Debt Service Expense $239,525 $0.00
Total 2011/2012 Budgets $18,049,375 $16,496,317
District Road Budgets, 2005-2012
Year Dist. 1 Dist. 2 Dist. 3 Dist. 4 Total
2005 $662,951 741,277 514,525 559,264 $2,478,017
2006 659,754 588,052 588,052 588,052 2,423,910
2007 688,759 630,008 630,008 630,008 2,578,783
2008 798,067 735,393 735,393 735,393 3,004,246
2009 827,035 762,147 762,147 762,147 3,113,476
2010 944,649 872,979 872,979 872,979 3,563,586
2011 921,105 849,551 849,551 849,551 3,469,758
2012 977,347 934,254 903,734 903,734 3,719,069
2011/2012 budget comparisons by 20 major expense categories*
Item 2011 2012
Highways and roads $ 5,811,380 $ 5,128,490
Sheriff/jail/SROs 5,013,269 4,943,344
Rev. commission/tax maint. 1,462,610 1,463,083
County buildings/maint./grounds 900,289 892,428
Blount County Public Trans. 523,469 540,004
Probate office 518,488 498,635
Commission office 409,506 366,546
County landfill 896,506 269,153
Palisades Park 261,766 255,249
Animal shelter/control program 263,010 248,891
Capital improvement 200,000 200,000
Personnel admin./data processing 163,351 145,640
Juvenile probation/youth services 141,072 137,049
Agribusiness Center 116,709 114,521
Aging/senior daycare programs 103,432 103,765
Economic/business development 92,756 95,783
Farm support agencies 58,450 55,528
Libraries/museum 54,511 54,511
Social service agencies 37,000 36,000
Debt service 239,525 __ 0
Total of 20 categories $ 17,267,098 $ 15,548,620
( 95.7% of budget) (94.3% of budget)

*wages, salaries, benefits included

Total Projected Expeditures/Revenue
Budgets, 2005- 2012
Year Expenditures Revenues
2005 $15,000,909 $14,198,592
2006 16,200,000 15,449,629
2007 15,970,000 16,074,157
2008 16,170,000 16,380,000
2009 17,012,853 17,156,993
2010 17,282,595 16,467,001
2011 18,049,376 16,224,465
2012 16,496,317 15,602,173
County entities, by number of fulltime employees
Sheriff’s department deputies* 40
District road crews 33
Jail* 30
Revenue/tax maintenance 23
Probate office 8
Building maintenance 8
Elected officials** 7
Engineering office 7
Commission staff 4
Animal control/adoption 4
Palisades Park 4
Emergency management 2
Transfer station 2
Mental health officer 1
License inspector 1
Personnel dept. 1
Data processing dept. _ 1
Total 155

*varies by one or two employees per month. ** 4 commissioners, probate judge, revenue commissioner, and sheriff