Mayor Burchett presents FY14-15 Knox County budget

Mayor Burchett presents FY14-15 Knox County budget

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett presented the county’s roughly $730 million budget Thursday morning.

This year’s budget is a 2.1 percent increase over last year’s budget.

Knox County Finance Director Chris Caldwell told 6 News the budget increase is in part because of rising health insurance costs for county employees and various departmental increases.

Caldwell said the budget does not include a tax increase or any layoffs.

The general fund budget, which includes public safety is $164,275,513. Public safety made up $77,472,958 of the general fund.

More online: Read the full proposed budget [PDF]

The budget includes 33 additional county positions, but Caldwell said many of those positions are being transferred from contract employees to county employees, meaning the county had already budgeted for those costs in previous years.

There are 16 new positions with the medical examiner’s office, but most of them were previously contracted employees and are now being transferred to the county.

Some of the new positions include two new employees for the Karns Senior Center, one for the Internal Auditor’s office and one for the property management division.

The budget includes a five-year capital improvement plan of around $31 million. Phase two of the Ball Camp Pike project will receive $5 million; $2.5 million is designated for safety improvements at various intersections; $750,000 for expansions and upgrades to Carter Convenience Center; $300,000 for the development of Plumb Creek Park; and funding for 30 new Knox County Sheriff's Office vehicles and technology/security upgrades.

Mayor Burchett also designated $375,000 in support of the arts and culture community.

The budget includes $427,785,000 for the Knox County School System, which falls below the BOE’s request of $432,335,000.

The BOE said it requested the roughly additional $4.5 million for teacher raises.

"It is up to the school board," Burchett said. "Out of that $428 million they could find one percent you would think that would be a priority for them."

"That's his opinion and we would disagree because 15 percent of our budget is not related to teacher salaries now, to people's salaries now, so there's not a whole lot of room there left to cut," BOE chair Lynne Fugate said.

Caldwell said the schools’ budget is a $7.9 million increase over last year’s schools’ budget.

Caldwell also said the Knox County Schools’ budget has increased $49 million since FY11.

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