Proposed 2016 budget includes 1.5% raise - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Proposed 2016 budget includes 1.5% raise

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - We're getting a peek at Hamilton County's proposed 2016 budget and it looks like the county is in pretty good shape.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger revealed the $664 million budget to commissioners in a workshop Tuesday.

With $21 million more to spend compared to the last budget, Coppinger has a little more to work with when it comes to making ends meet. 

The proposed budget includes a 1.5-percent raise across the board for all county employees making it the second increase in the last six years.

Coppinger says he wanted to reward employees for their hard work.

“We wish we could do more but in order for this budget to balance and this budget to work, we only have 1.5-percent for it to increase employee salaries,” he added.

Another big item: The Humane Society.

Coppinger included the $226,000 increase for the society to make necessary improvements to its more than 50 year old building.

“We felt it was the right thing to do and so we wanted to step up to the plate and fully fund the Humane Society and that's what we've done,” he said.

Coppinger praised Superintendent Rick Smith for coming back with a budget that didn't include a tax increase; something Coppinger has been stern over, saying taxes should only be used as a last resort.

The school's budget included $6.5 million dollars more compared to the current one.

Mayor Coppinger will present the budget to the public on Wednesday. Commissioners still have the opportunity to suggest changes. They will vote on the budget on June 17th.

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