County Budget Passes with No Tax Increase
The Coffee County full commission passed the 2017-18 $21 million budget on June 27th with NO tax increase. The last tax increase in the county, which was a 20-cent rate hike, was approved back in 2015. Most of the funds generated from that increase were used to fund the new jail. Coffee County Mayor Gary Cordell praised members of the budget and finance committee, as well as Mariana Edinger director of accounts and budgets, for their hard work over the last few months. As far as the rest of the budget, the county jail budget continues to increase because of higher medical costs with the daily inmate count of 400. The medical costs have increased from about $492,000 to nearly $675,000. The conference center budget was approved for $140,000. The county and the city of Manchester will share the projected losses for 2017-18 at around $280,000. The Coffee County Rescue Squad budget has increased by $4,500 with the organization receiving $27,000 from the county in the upcoming fiscal year. And lastly, $300,000 is earmarked in the budget for potential lawsuit liability. The county is currently the subject of a lawsuit filed by Melinda Keeling, a former employee of the department of codes and safety. The county is facing a potential $600,000 payout should the matter eventually be settled in the plaintiff’s favor.