By LISA WHALEY
With a public hearing set for Monday, July 3, at Town Hall, the Jonesborough Mayor and Aldermen continue to work to solidify the town’s 2017-2018 budget — focusing, according to Town Administrator Bob Browning, on accomplishing as much as they can while paying close attention to the benefits of being financially responsible in a small town.
“In the general fund, we’ve always operated with very tight budgets,” Browning stressed. “It’s sort of the nature of a small town.”
Yet it’s also one that town officials believe they have become adept at managing.
Part of that management has come from having department heads who understand the challenge.
“They don’t submit budgets that are padded,” Browning said. “The expectation is to operate within their budgets.
“The bottom line of it is we’re trying to create the reserve in the system that gives us more flexibility, but at the same time, we have to get the job done.”
What that means for the Jonesborough resident is an upcoming 2017-2018 proposed budget that currently holds no fee or tax increases.
Browning also believes that this has helped produce a town of which its residents can be proud.
“They can be confident that they have board members and staff to do a good job with the money available,” Browning said. “And nobody is talking about raising rates and raising taxes. It isn’t easy to do more with less but there is constant effort to work in that direction.”
That often means not just spending less, but looking ahead to decide the best expenditures — ones that benefit the town in the long run, he said.
“As far as the water fund is concerned, when you trying to address budget, the issues are what are you trying to achieve,” Browning said.
Regarding water and sewer services within the town, Jonesborough has already made substantial progress and is hoping to continue in the upcoming year.
Town officials want to continue to improve byproduct measures within the system. “June testing turned out extremely well and we’re not in any violations,” Borrowing said. The town will also continue to address infiltration and inflow problems, as well as the importance of redundancy of services in case equipment must be repaired.
“What’s happened where people used to have parts in stock and additional parts, anymore anything is more or less ordered and manufactured,” Browning said. That means, he explained, it now takes two to three times longer to obtain a replacement — and the town wants to ensure the product and its customers don’t suffer in such a situation.
The public budget hearing is set for 8 a.m. in the town hall board room on Monday, July 3. For questions, visit call Town Hall at 753-1030 or visit the town website at www.jonesboroughtn.org where past budgets can also be viewed.