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Special Washington County Commission meeting called to hear budget

Budget

By Collin Brooks

[email protected]

Staff Writer

A special called meeting was announced by Washington County Commission Chairman Greg Matherly for June 6, which will give the commission time to discuss nine capital projects that have been identified and total $137 million.

While not all of the projects are expected to be carried through — and a vote in favor of a project doesn’t mean it will happen — it will give the county a time to see the needs and ultimately come closer to a number for a penny count to add to the property tax.

It will also be a crossroads for the commission, as two Jonesborough projects are on the list. A proposed new school — totaling just under $29 million — or renovations, which total just under $10 million are both on the list. A new Jonesborough school would cost about 13 pennies per year, while the renovations will total five pennies per year.

“That (vote) is going to determine the direction for Jonesborough,” Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge said. “This is intended to answer that question.”

Also on the list is the proposed construction of an 1,100 student K-8 school to replace the two Boones Creek schools. That is projected to cost $30.5 million and will amount to almost $58 million worth of debt for the county. The annual penny requirement is 14 cents.

However, those aren’t the only school projects that are on the document that will be discussed during the meeting. Also on the list is a seven year school bus replacement project, that will come in at $4.5 million or two pennies per year.

School technology is another line item, which will provide the school system with the needed funding to continue their implementation of their technology plan over the next six years. That will be handled with cash over the next six years and would require three cents per year.

The final school item are the capital school needs, which include roofs, HVAC and other continuous funding that are needed. The current funds needed are $9.2 million and would come in at six cents annually.

There are also three funding projects that don’t have to deal with the school system. The upgrade to the public safety communication system which will cost 1.3 million to upgrade the existing county radio coverage.

Another line item is the general government needs, like the circuit court computer system, roof replacements, parking lot pacing, county wide vehicles, economic development opportunities, waterline extensions and contingencies, which will come in at just under $12.5 million or eight pennies per year.

The final item doesn’t have a determined financial amount, but will look to contribute funds to the highway and bridge infrastructure which the County Highway Superintendent has requested. That will come in at a penny per year.

Public discussion will be allowed before the meeting starts.