The Wilson County Budget Committee voted to not send a funding recommendation to the full commission at the committee’s meeting Monday night.
The committee, instead, only approved the budget as requested from all county departments. That did not include the $107 million needed for the new high school in Mt. Juliet, known as Green Hill High School.
“I think this matter needs to go before the whole board and everyone can have their ideas and comments at the meeting,” said Budget Committee chair Mike Justice.
The commission will take up the issue of the funding for the new school at its next meeting Aug. 20 in commission chambers at the Wilson County Courthouse.
Before the budget vote, Commissioner Jerry McFarland wanted to stop projects and come up with a master plan of countywide projects and how to fund them. The other members of the committee did not make a motion to do that.
“The school system has a long-term plan, and they’ve had it for years,” Justice told McFarland.
Wilson Count Mayor Randall Hutto said, “So far, we’ve funded as we go, and we haven’t missed any payment that I know of.”
McFarland said the county is $474 million in debt, and there’s going to be another $800 million, and that doesn’t include schools. We need a plan.”
Hutto said, “The percent of debt . What we spent time doing is what we always try to do. And that is to meet the needs of every department. We have $2 million surplus in the general fund and have had for three years.”
He said by using $1 million from the general fund and $500,000 from the special-purpose school tax, the school could be funded without a tax increase.
“There’s no question in my mind that if we wait a while, we’ll lose the money we’ve accumulated right here,” he said. “We’ll have to resend it our for bids, and that will go up. Interest rates will go up, and the prices will go up. I don’t want to cost the taxpayer when we have money in the bank to build the school now.”
In addition to passing the county’s budget as submitted, the Budget Committee also voted to keep the county property tax rate at $2.5189 per $100 of assessed value.