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Erwin BMA passes budget on first reading

The Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved the town’s 2014-2015 fiscal year budget on first reading during a meeting on Monday, Aug. 11, at Town Hall.
Town of Erwin officials ironed out the details of the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget during budget work sessions held last month and in June.
A property tax increase is not included in the proposed budget and the town’s property tax rate has been set at $1.0796 per $100 on real estate and personal property.
According to the proposed budget, the town’s beginning fund balance for the 2014-2015 fiscal year is $1,806,101, revenues are proposed to be $8,458,086, making the total funds available $10,264,187. Expenditures in the proposed budget are $9,234,665, which will leave the ending fund balance at $1,029,522.
Revenues in the proposed budget include: approximately $3 million from local taxes (a category which includes revenues from property taxes, local sales tax, wholesale beer tax and business taxes); approximately $570,000 in intergovernmental revenues (which includes state sales tax and state beer tax); approximately $20,000 in licenses and permits; $51,000 for fines, fees and court costs; approximately $28,000 from the department of recreation; approximately $1.07 million in state and federal grants; and approximately $4.46 million in other revenues (this includes $3,250,000 in loan proceeds and $776,579 transferred from fund balance).
Expenditures in the proposed budget include: $29,740 for legislative expenses; $35,400 for the city attorney and judge; $333,651 for central staff agencies; $14,129 to hire a part-time communications specialist; $64,062 for planning and zoning; $123,133 for city hall buildings; $101,406 for other government expenses; $1,053,251 for the police department; $655,719 for the fire department; $809,161 for the street department; $178,000 for sanitation; $7,500 for pest control; $241,421 for welfare and social services; $53,877 for the pool; $244,889 for parks and recreation; $672,273 for debt service; and $4,631,182 transferred to capital projects.
According to City Recorder Glenn Rosenoff, one of the most significant increases in expenditures for this fiscal year was a 27 percent increase in the cost of employee insurance. Rosenoff said town officials opted to absorb the increase in insurance costs instead of passing it on to the employees.
The BMA also chose to use approximately $240,000 of the $750,000 the town received from Mountain States Health Alliance for the sale of Unicoi County Memorial Hospital to fund some of the health-related organizations included in the welfare and social services section of the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget.
These organizations included the Unicoi County Family YMCA, Second Harvest Food Bank and Emergency Dispatch Services.
Rosenoff said officials followed the guidelines of the agreement between the town and MSHA which states that the town “agrees that it shall only use the Community Contribution for lawful purposes to serve, enhance and improve the health care needs of the residents of the town.
“To that end, the Community Contribution shall be used to support services that are currently funded under the health and welfare section of the town’s budget and that address the health care needs of the residents of the town …”
The board is scheduled to vote on the budget for the second time during a meeting on Aug. 26 at Town Hall.
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Also during Monday’s meeting, the BMA approved maintenance contracts with TDOT and Mayor Doris Hensley appointed members to serve on local boards.