Four commissioners oppose proposed Hamilton County budget
On June 26, the Hamilton County Commission will come together to vote on the $819,000,000 budget proposal.
"You know commission has a tough choice in front of them, and you know it's like I said it's how we value public education," said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger.
The .34 cent tax increase for education has commissioners on edge. Channel 3 asked each commissioner where they stand on the budget vote right now, and four commissioners currently plan on voting no.
- District 1 Commissioner Randy Fairbanks -- NO --"I will be voting No on the budget request that includes a tax increase. Two increases in two years is too hard on the senior population."
- District 2 Commissioner Chip Baker -- UNDECIDED -- wants to hear more opinions on both sides.
- District 3 Commissioner Greg Martin -- WAITING FOR VOTE --"The vote is on June 26th, I will cast my vote that day."
- District 4 Commissioner Warren Mackey -- NO RESPONSE
- District 5 Commissioner Katherlyn Geter -- WAITING FOR VOTE-- "I'm looking forward to giving my vote next week on the 26th. Just would encourage everyone to continue to live and share their voice to the commission body. Engagement and participation is so important."
- District 6 Commissioner David Sharpe -- YES -- "During my campaign, I promised to take seriously our obligation to support public schools. This budget fulfills that promise. Barring any action that would dramatically alter the fundamental elements of the budget, I will be in support."
- District 7 Commissioner Sabrena Smedley -- NO -- She told Channel 3 that there's not enough information, and it's too soon after the last tax increase.
- District 8 Commissioner Tim Boyd -- NO -- His public commissioner Facebook page states that he's voting no.
- District 9 Commissioner Chester Bankston -- NO -- He told Channel 3 that he plans to vote no at next week's vote.
"I'm not overly positive or negative about the outcome because this is what makes government function the way it does," said Coppinger.
If the budget doesn't pass, Coppinger said they'll have some time to come up with something else before the fiscal year begins on July 1.
"We could do a continuation budget in the event that that's necessary, but again sometime out in the fall before you have to have a budget set," he said.
Coppinger said he doesn't know if he can flip those no votes but hopes the commissioners realize there's a lot at stake.
"I think we are at the crossroads with public education in this county, and we have to make a decision on whether to invest in our public education system or not," he said.
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