On Monday night Tipton County passed its 2021-22 budget, giving raises to its employees and planning significant paving, among other things.
Last year county employees did not receive a raise, due to the commission’s desire to be conservative with spending during the unknowns of operating in a pandemic, so this year they received a 5-percent cost of living raise.
“A lot of those employees were on the front line, a lot of them got sick, and it was difficult for a lot of the county employees to do their job under the pressures this COVID-19 has put us in,” said county executive Jeff Huffman. “But they did.”
There is an extra pay period in this fiscal year, which Huffman said happens once every few years, so it looks as though employees received more than just 5 percent. The extra money in the budget for salaries plans accordingly.
The county saw more sales tax revenue than expected during the last fiscal year, as did all of Tipton County’s municipalities, and property taxes are looking good, too.
W.T. Bailey, the county’s budget director, told the finance committee, “We’re on track to have the best property tax collection year ever, with about 96-97 percent collected.”
The tax rate remained at $2.04.
They were supposed to construct a new animal shelter this year, but this year has become a year for planning with construction set for FY23.
There was $700,000-$800,000 in damages to the county’s roadways during the unprecedented winter weather this year and the county is poised to spend the most it ever has on paving.
“We had a hard winter,” Huffman said. “When you leave your house, there are all of these potholes. With this budget we’re putting somewhere between $2.6 to $3 million in there for hot mix asphalt. That’s the biggest investment we’ve ever made in hot mix asphalt. I think the citizens of Tipton County will see a big difference in the paving program for this county.”
The Tipton County Sheriff’s Office will receive a new detective position and grant-funded body cameras, the Tipton County Fire Department has taken on part of the Drummonds fire district area from Munford and the county has doubled the contribution for tax relief for veterans from $25,000 to $50,000.
The county has also received a $420,000 grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority for use at the county- and city-owned property near Unilever.
They’ve also bought the 228-acre Muex property near Mason to give them 300 acres near the megasite.
Huffman praised the finance committee for its work on the budget.
“The budget has a lot and does a lot from a fundamental standpoint. There’s a balancing act there and I think this budget does a really good job of balancing the human needs side with the conservative budget.”