State commends county for ‘timely adoption’ of 2022-23 budget

Lawrence County received a commendation from the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury recognizing “its timely adoption of a balanced budget for fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022.”

Signed by Comptroller Jason E. Mumpower, it praises the fact that Lawrence County’s 2022-23 budget was adopted before June 30, 2022, the last day of the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Lawrence County has not always achieved timely budget adoption. The 2016-17 budget was the first in 20 years to be approved before the June 30 deadline. A pattern was established that year, so Lawrence County has continued to meet the annual state deadline.

Lawrence County operates better when a new budget is ready for the new year. These are a few reasons why:

*Without a new budget, county government continues to operate on the spending plan established for the previous year. Continuing budgets only cover basic operating expenses. Other purchases have to be put off, even if the Highway Department needs a new piece of equipment, or an office copier breaks down. With timely budget adoption, necessary purchases can be made in a timely manner, which means the county operates more smoothly and effectively.

*Until the tax rate is set, tax bills cannot be sent out and revenues don’t come in.  “Tax anticipation notes” were necessary in the past, which means Lawrence County borrows money from other funds to cover general operating expenses. 

*Because the budget was approved on time, property tax bills can be sent out in a timely manner and county government can begin operating on the new year’s revenues. 

*State statute requires budget approval by June 30. Lawrence County has received permission in the past to extend that deadline, sometimes by several months, but it is better to show state officials the county is willing to do the work to get things done right.

Timely budget approval requires early coordination of county department budget proposals, consideration of requests from nonprofits, for tourism, economic and community development, and approval of the School System budget. Members of the County Commission’s Budget Committee and the Accounts & Budgets Department put in many hours to compile and consider all those numbers before the budget is approved and adopted by the Commission as a whole.



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