Hamilton Co. Commissioners pass Mayor Coppinger's 2018 budget
On Wednesday, before a packed house, Hamilton County Commissioners passed Mayor Jim Coppinger's budget for the fiscal year of 2018.
Commissioner Tim Boyd was the only "no" vote. Boyd made a motion to delay the vote for 30 days but the motion failed to get a second.
The budget will not contain any extra school funding, which the Hamilton County Schools Budget Working group recommended earlier this year.
NewsChannel 9 spoke with new School Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson, who attended the budget hearing. Hear what he had to say.
Reporter Katherine Marchand was at the crowded hearing.
UnifiEd tells NewsChannel 9 they are disappointed by the outcome but will continue to fight for increased school funding.
Here is the full news release on the budget's passage, from Hamilton County Mayor Spokesman Mike Dunne:
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger’s 691.4 million dollar balanced budget for Hamilton County Government was approved by an 8-1 county commission vote Wednesday morning, June 21, 2017.
This is the seventh consecutive year that Mayor Coppinger has presented a no-tax increase budget.
Mayor Coppinger said, “This has been a difficult budget year, despite financial challenges, we have again presented a budget to taxpayers which delivers additional funding for government, education and public safety needs.” The mayor continued his comments saying, “We operate government in a fiscally conservative manner that taxpayers expect. This is why we have been able to deliver a no-tax increase budget for seven years in a row, while at the same time maintaining our AAA bond rating from the three top bond rating agencies in the country. These efforts enable us to borrow money at a low rate saving taxpayers millions of dollars.”
Sixty-six percent of Hamilton County’s budget will go to fund the education system. The Hamilton County Department of Education’s budget is now $425.7 million dollars. This is an 8 million dollar increase over last year.
Mayor Coppinger articulated his support for education once more saying, “There is nothing more important to me than educating our young people, during my tenure as mayor we have spent 138 million dollars to build new schools or additions. Since 2011 school funding has gone up 53.8 million dollars.”
The Sheriff’s Department’s funding increased 5.4 percent over last year’s budget. The sheriff’s $35.2 million dollar budget will allow him to hire 22 new officers of which 6 will be school resource officers.
Mayor Coppinger also praised the new Mental Health Court saying this may help reduce some of the population issues at the jail. Mayor Coppinger added, “Unfortunately 25 to 30 percent of the people incarcerated in our county jails have been diagnosed with mental illness.”
Mayor Coppinger added the county was able to once again hold the line on employee’s health insurance costs with no increase in employees’ health insurance, once again saving taxpayer dollars.
This story will be updated.