Loudon County commissioners may raise property taxes to pay for Sheriff Tim Guider’s proposed new budget.
Members of the Loudon County Commission Budget Committee are scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed 2019-2020 proposed budget at 6 p.m. Monday, June 17, at 6:00 pm at the Courthouse Annex, according to news release.
Guider was unavailable for comment Thursday.
County Commissioner Kelly Littleton Brewster told The Tennessee Star that Guider wants more taxpayer money to hire 42 new employees, some for the new county jail scheduled to open next January. The county needs a new jail because the current facility is overcrowded. The current jail has 80 employees, she added.
Guilder also wants that money to hire to new patrol officers, Brewster said.
“Right now, we don’t want to raise property taxes, but we’re also looking at other possibilities,” Brewster said.
“Right now, county commissioners have offered 15 new employees to the sheriff. Doing that would not consist of a property tax increase.”
But 42 new employees would require a property tax hike, Brewster said.
County Commissioner Harold Duff, meanwhile, said he is not on board.
“I have a problem supporting it like it is written,” Duff said.
“I have several amendments to render at the meeting about proposed changes.”
Duff said he would not offer specifics as to what changes he wants to make. He also said none of his constituents have called him to either support or defeat any property tax increase.
County Commissioner Julia Hurley told The Star Thursday she currently has no opinion.
“I want to hear everybody’s side of it before I start making any decisions,” Hurley said.
Brewster, however, said her constituents offer a mixture of opinions.
“Several of them feel like if it’s what the sheriff needs then we need to give the sheriff what the sheriff needs,” Brewster said.
“And then other people are totally opposed to doing a property tax increase to provide the sheriff with 42 new employees.”
Lisa Shirk Bridges expressed her thoughts on the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
“I back the blue all the way. Not enough money in the world to pay them what they deserve. But, we all must live within our budgets. Some people can’t afford the property taxes they pay now,” Bridges wrote.
Because of greed, this proposed budget is asking for raises of up to 22 percent for some and less than 8 percent for the ones out patrolling and working as correctional officers. Why can’t it be an across-the-board raise so that property taxes won’t be raised? Go to my page and see the actual raises proposed and come to the meeting.”
Brewster said county commissioners will ultimately decide what to do on June 24.
The county’s new fiscal year begins July 1.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Kelly Littleton Brewster” by Tennessee.edu. Background Photo “Loudon County Courthouse” by Scott Basford. CC BY-SA 3.0.