March 8, 2021

Chairman Boone responds to opponent’s article

Heard County Citizens:

Over the past six weeks, it has been incumbent upon me to lay politics aside to deal with the health threat facing our county, and concentrate my efforts on making sure the continuity of essential government services is not disrupted during these unprecedented times.

I am at work every day to handle any issues that may surface and ensure critical needs are being met. In light of my opponents recent articles, I am left with no choice but to respond accordingly.

In 2012 before I took office, the annual budget for the county was 13.2 million.

In 2013 the downward trend in sales tax revenues became apparent, and in 2014 began to significantly decline continuing into 2015.

In a 12 month period, the loss averaged 100K per month totaling 1.2 million, a confirmed result of the lack of coal purchase by the power plant.

The 2015-2016 annual budget was cut to 12 million to reflect the revenue shortfalls. No services were cut, no furloughs or benefits for employees were cut, and paychecks are always on time.

The annual budget is approved by the Board and given to the Chairman to run the daily operations of the county. I have always operated within the budget I was given every year, and have never had a finding in the County Audit.

I have received no challenge or criticism, but only commendations by Board members on budget management and spending.

The EMA/Fire Department is our largest department with an annual budget of $2,771,232.69. The salaries and benefit portion of that is $2,122,238.92.

The Sheriff’s Department is our 2nd largest department with an annual budget of $2,296,402.78. The salaries and benefit portion of that is $1,550,899.28.

Also, the Sheriff attended the 2019-2020 budget work session in May 2109, and requested a salary line increase for his Deputies, which the Board granted.

The 2019-2020 annual budget for the county is approximately 12.1 million, and the total salaries and benefit portion for all employees is $7,638,109.37.

The property tax revenues portion collected for the county is 3.5 million, and the sales tax revenues portion for the county is also 3.5 million. Combined, those two county levied taxes do not even offset the total costs of salaries and benefits.

The idea or concept proposed by my opponent that we could compete financially with the agencies/counties surrounding us on our current budget is unrealistic, fiscally irresponsible and would render the county insolvent. Therefore, the only way to make this a realistic goal is to significantly raise property taxes, cut services or both.

Perhaps my opponent should have taken a “Hard Look” at the same county financials while she was a commissioner, instead of promising a “Hard Look” at them if she is elected Chairman.

The facts and figures I have stated herein are public record, easily calculated and clearly shows how much of the annual budget is allocated to payroll and benefits.

The employees have received increases when revenues are up, expenses are down and there are extra funds available.

In the past five years serving with my opponent, I have personally never witnessed this “I will Fight for You” crusade that is now a central part of her campaign.

(To be continued… )

Lee Boone, Chairman

Heard County Board of Commissioners

*PAID POLITICAL AD*

Comments

  1. Thanks Boone you just answered two questions that I was ask about. Not just part of the question but all of it. You got my vote

  2. You have another vote here as well keep up he excellent work!

  3. Dale Salinger says

    I’m still not entirely convinced. Sure, the finances and whatnot all make sense, and it does seem to be unrealistic to propose those kinds of salary increases. However, what are you going to do if you do win re-election? What is going to change in the county? Will you enforce some of the codes and policies that your opponent has said she will enforce? Or are you just going to leave everything in the state it is, which could be seen as a good thing, but also a bad thing?

  4. Concerned Citizen says

    Since I have been said by peace with her I want to know what your opinion is and why you haven’t tried to give the people who representative your county a raise to keep them here. Like I have told her I am embarrassed to say I live here and work here as well. I mean it’s only 5 years but still. And the pay for any of us is joke. When surrounding county makes 3 to 4 dollars more. You do a rookie school here only for them to graduate and leave for more money. Same with the deputies and the dispatcher turnover is horrible as well. Due to mlm or. I would like to see you raise two kids pay rent and all your bills on what we make every 2 weeks. Because we all know that your people in the office make better money to sit in comfy desk chairs and not out putting there lives on the line. So I will be waiting to hear from

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