The Wilson County Commission approved its 2021-2022 fiscal year budget Monday night and followed suit of city municipalities as it lowered its property tax rate following this year’s property assessment.
The $373 million budget included additional personnel for the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Wilson County Emergency Management Agency and Wilson County Schools, as well as a 5-percent raise for classified employees of Wilson County Schools. The total budget number includes about $77 million for schools. Capital projects make up about $47 million of the schools budget.
Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan received funding for six additional patrol deputies after he requested nine through the department’s needs assessment list last month.
“The main reason is it’s getting very difficult to answer the calls for service that we’re getting,” he said. “It’s going to enable us to add extra patrol deputies on each shift and answer these calls for service.”
Wilson County Emergency Management Agency Director Joey Cooper received funding for nine additional personnel for Lebanon and Watertown zones.
The commission approved funding for the six additional personnel Cooper requested for the Watertown zone just north of the Watertown city limits, as well as three “floater” positions for the agency’s zones in Lebanon.
“These personnel will actually be semi-floaters to fill any vacancies that we have in any of our stations, which we do on quite a regular basis, especially during this last year. Fortunately, we haven’t had to close any stations down,” Cooper said.
Cooper said the six additional personnel for the Watertown zone would help to increase coverage in the area.
“Right now, basically, the only coverage there is the Watertown Volunteer Fire Department, and during the day you’re going to be lucky to get one or two people, if that,” he said.
The commission approved the Wilson County School fiscal year budget as a part of the county budget. The school’s 2021-2022 budget is about $2 million lower than the previous year, according to Wilson County Schools Finance Director Michael Smith.
The school’s budget includes a 5 percent raise for classified staff members, which totals about $1.5 million annually, and four new maintenance positions.
The commission also lowered the county’s property tax rate to 1.9089 from the previous rate of 2.5189 following this year’s property assessments. The reduction in the property tax rate is designed to keep the county’s revenue from property taxes neutral to previous years, although the rate would cause some residents to pay more in property taxes, depending on their location in the county.