Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett submitted his final budget for the County Monday as he prepares to leave office this Fall after two terms in office. Burchett is term-limited and is currently running for Congress in the Second Congressional District Republican Primary to succeed Congressman Jimmy Duncan, who announced his retirement several months ago.
The final Burchett budget proposal spends $819 million and includes no tax increases. The budget is a small increase of 2.6 percent ($20.8 million) from 2017-18 and would pay down $9.1 million in county debt. Burchett pointed out in his presentation that the county has paid down some $45 million in debt since he took office.
The budget also focuses on provided some additional funds to law enforcement, with raises for the Sheriff’s Deputies that will be higher than what will be allocated to other county employees. There is also some targeted spending in the $35.4 million capital budget, with the Sheriff’s Department receiving $2.1 million for new equipment, which includes forty six new vehicles, body cameras and tasers.
The Burchett proposal includes one year of funding for magnet schools and the Project GRAD program, which helps lower-performing, poorer students, subject to the School Board assisting in that funding through their own budget.
“Not surprisingly, this budget proposal is a fiscally conservative plan that meets our “needs” but doesn’t raise taxes to satisfy more of our “wants,” just like our previous budgets,” Burchett noted. “It underlines our commitment to our law enforcement personnel; and to improving the results in our schools with both increased funds and more accountability. “
“Every family has to find ways to live within our means,” Burchett added, “it isn’t always fun or easy, and we should demand the same fiscally responsible approach from those who spend our tax dollars. This budget does that.”
The Knox County Commission must ultimately approve and pass the fiscal plan.
Watch Burchett’s budget presentation here: