JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – County commissioners met in a short, recessed session Monday night to approve resolutions of support for both Comcast and AT&T to expand broadband service in parts of the county that are more or less off the grid, Internet-wise.

The resolutions are a necessary step in the process for the utilities to apply for federal and state grant money and are similar to one passed earlier to support Highland Telephone’s plans to expand broadband service into Stinking Creek and White Oak.

The commission then met as a budget and finance committee for about an hour to begin the review process for the upcoming 2022-23 budget. Those funds reviewed included the drug control fund, which may take a hit this year as the court has placed a hold on the balance of a sizable amount of money awarded from confiscated monies. The remaining $106,422 has been placed in reserve pending final appeals and cannot be used until/if released by the court.

The other funds reviewed were the special purpose fund set up to pay for retiree health insurance benefits and the industrial and economic development fund. Based on current projections, the county’s property tax rate for next year is projected to remain the same as this year at $2.0659 for each $100 of value.

An increase in overall property values is part of the reason, with projections that the value of a penny on the tax rate will increase in the 2022-23 fiscal year to $81,750, up from $81,167 in 2020-21. Revenue from the motor vehicle (wheel) tax is projected to remain constant at $1,495,000 while the county’s hotel/motel tax revenues are expected to increase from $531,000 budgeted for the current year to $981,000 as the state is now collecting the tax revenue along with sales tax.

The commission plans to meet again on Thursday at 6 pm to review the sanitation fund and highway fund and plans six additional budget meetings by March 31. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 03/09/2022-6AM)