Budget deliberations to start early

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Acutely aware that indecision on funding the Goats Music & More festival caused controversy and small town talk that the annual event might not continue, Lewisburg councilmen want to start working on next year's budget this winter.

Councilman Steve Thomas suggested the mayor and councilmen go on a working retreat to devote their undivided attention to city finances. In the weeks since that idea received support among the town fathers, Thomas has taken steps to program those council meetings.

Thursday, Nov. 10, at Henry Horton State Park is when and where the council will meet almost all day long, Thomas announced Monday during a monthly session of the Lewisburg Industrial Development Board in City Hall.

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagarty has been invited to speak with city and county leaders during a dinner as the city's budget deliberations conclude that night, Thomas said. County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett, county commissioners, members of the school board and other government leaders are also being invited. The dinner may be for 90 people.

Mayor Barbara Woods and a number of councilmen reacting to Thomas' plans for the retreat have supported the idea and acknowledged that spending decisions for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2012, should be drafted early so priorities can be set.

Economic analysis of the state's financial condition and forecasts for growth, or continued stagnation are also important because those factors affect the city's revenue stream.

Meanwhile, the Nov. 10 retreat is 17 days after this month's county commission meeting when that panel is to consider Commissioner Don Ledford's request for the creation of a study committee to explore how consolidating local government into a metropolitan system would save taxpayers' money.