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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sharp JPs to increase millage to increase millage

Wednesday, December 5, 2001

It appears Sharp County Budget Committee Chairman Bob Evins will have the support he needs from the quorum court after all to approve a 1.2-percent millage increase to balance next year's budget.Evins told the court a budget had to be approved. He proposed a compromise to the JPs, asking them to support a millage increase with the stipulation that a 1-percent sales tax be placed on next year's ballot; if the sales tax increase is approved, the millage increase will roll back to the current rate.In an unofficial show of hands the JPs approved the proposal with a 7-2 vote; JPs Marvin Cossey and Wayne Long voted against the proposal.Justices of the Peace Bartus Allen and Buell Wilkes now say they will support the committee's recommendation for an increase -- this following last week's meeting when they said they would not.Other options discussed last week included deleting expenditures for Tri-County Recycling, decreasing money given to the fire departments, adjusting the county clerk's budget and asking county employees to contribute toward their health insurance."I just can't go along with taking money away from the fire departments," said Evins. "And frankly, I think deleting money for Tri-County Recycling is hypocritical. This court voted last month to give extra money to Tri-County and now the same ones who approved that expenditure want to shut it down a month later."Evins also expressed concerns regarding freezing employees' salaries and asking them to contribute toward their health insurance, saying, "There's a right and a wrong way to do things and I think that's the wrong way to treat an employee."He said he would support freezing salaries, but not both. He then asked each JP for his opinion.Ray Martin said he would support a millage increase as opposed to more budget cuts. He cited his experience as a prior county sheriff and tax collector when making his recommendations. "We've got to wake up and face reality," he said.He said the budget cuts in the sheriff's office concerned him, "It's not the number of inmates you have, it's the kind; one bad one can get you killed." He went on to say he felt it was necessary to have two people at the jail at all times.Wayne Long and Marvin Cossey expressed their displeasure at the suggestion of a millage increase, saying they felt the people should vote on the issue. Martin responded, "They have voted. They voted for us and expect us to do what is necessary to take care of the county. This court is obligated to furnish funds to operate the county government."Both Cossey and Long supported additional budget decreases, saying they supported neither a millage nor a sales tax increase. Long said he thought the people in the county "were damned if they did or damned if they didn't."Goings said he would support a millage increase but felt the best way to solve the county's financial dilemma would be to create more and better paying jobs for the people in the county. "There is one way out of this, only one; Sharp County has got to get very aggressive at getting job growth here," he said.Long responded that he did not think job growth was the answer. "The more growth, the more county employees," he said.Allen said he would support a millage increase but said he was concerned about next year.Wilkes said he would support a millage increase. "I think we've cut about all we can cut. I don't think we can cut any more and survive," he said.Johnson voiced his support of a millage increase. "I'd be willing to listen to anyone with a better suggestion," he said. "But I don't see any other way at this time." Prenger said he would also support an increase. "We've got to step up to the plate," he said.The JPs are expected to officially approve the millage increase at this month's regularly scheduled quorum court meeting when the budget committee presents the finalized budget for the court's approval.

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