For the last two and a half months, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger and county commissioners have worked to formulate a budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

Wednesday morning Coppinger presented the 2018 county budget during the weekly county commission meeting.

The new budget totals to $692,000,000, which is $12,000,000 larger than the 2017 budget. 

The state requires that the county make the budget available to the public. Wednesday was the first time it was presented.

"We want them (Commissioners) to do their due diligence and whenever they feel comfortable pass the budget to pass the budget. Hopefully, that sometime between now and July 1, if not we will do a continuing budget,” Mayor Coppinger said.

The county received more than $730,000,000 in funding requests. To be able to grant them all would require more than a 61-cent property tax increase.

However, county commissioners said their constituents are not in favor of a property tax increase.

In the new budget, the county’s schools will get over $8,000,000 in new funds, but that's only a third of the $24,000,000 they asked for.

Coppinger said he wants to see where the district is being ‘wasteful’ with their spending.

"To help move forward and help with efficiencies so we can show the public that it's not what is perceived to be,” he added.

Though no, a formal decision was made on Wednesday, Commissioner Joe Graham brought up that the county is in an assessment year - meaning a new property tax rate will be determined by the state in August.

"I realize it's against the law to use an assessment to raise taxes to generate new revenue, I have been around here long enough you know that this has to be cost neutral,” Graham said.

If commissioners passed the budget before the new rate is certified, they would have to amend the budget in August.

Next week, the budget discussion will be formally placed on the agenda, then the following week commissioners will either accept or reject the proposed budget.