By Ron Woody, writing in the January 2015 “County Executive’s Newsletter to the County Commission”
“Next Six Month Challenges”
As we begin the next calendar year, we thought it would be appropriate to identify some challenges which will come before commission in the next six months. As always, the beginning of the calendar year starts the annual budget process. Commission has made many major steps over the last number of years in establishing a more formal budget development process as budget focus has been divided into operating budgets and capital budget. We are not to the point we should be yet in both funding and understanding, but much as been accomplished and that I call a success.
Now to our six-month challenges:
- More deployment of capital budget. We plan on working on this in February and March. The questions to be answered are: Are we setting aside enough funds for replacement of our assets? Where do these set-aside funds come from and how do we protect these funds from competing services?
- Insuring that the county has a successful reappraisal program which includes not only accurate value but an understanding of the reappraisal impact.
- Funding of operational budgets which are either strained (general government) or suffering major loses (schools).
- Educational plans of capital improvements and related funding whether consolidation of schools are considered or not.
“Where Could We Be in a Tax Rate for 2015?”
If reappraisal reflects a decline in appraised and thus assessed value of 15 percent, here is what could occur: Our $2.18 tax rate becomes certified at $2.56. Operational loss of schools at .30 becomes .35, thus tax rate goes to $2.91. Even with $2.91 tax rate, there is no improvement in operational programs or additional investment in capital assets.
“Roane County Has a National Park—Another Success Story”
The county has another success story as the U.S. Congress has approved legislation that includes the designation of the Manhattan Project as a National Park. Roane County played a vital part in the Manhattan Project and the project’s contribution to the successful end of World War II with the creation of the “Little Boy” uranium atomic bomb. Much work will take place in the next two years as Oak Ridge City, Anderson County, and Roane County work with the U.S. Department of Interior and Department of Energy to create a national park environment. Let’s celebrate the passage of this legislation.
See the full newsletter here: Roane County Executive Newsletter January 2015.
Ron Woody is Roane County executive.