HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. (Times Free Press) -- Hamilton County's budget season is cranking up, and Mayor Jim Coppinger says he's asking elected officials and department heads to keep their belts cinched tight.

Coppinger said he's not sure what the numbers will look like for the 2013 fiscal year that starts July 1, but he predicts it will be another lean one — though not likely one requiring another round of layoffs. Last year the county cut more than 50 positions and laid off 36 workers, though about 10 were rehired in different positions.

This year, he said he hopes there will be enough money to boost compensation for county employees, who have gone without a raise since fiscal 2009.

"The goal of this budget is to be able to present a budget without a tax increase, and also to be able to look at some type of compensation for employees," Coppinger said.

Read more on the story from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.