ROGERSVILLE — A proposed resolution would protect county contributions to the Hawkins County Humane Society and American Red Cross as part of a Public Safety Reserve funded annually with $10 from the wheel tax.
On Monday, the Hawkins County Commission's Budget Committee discussed the resolution, which identifies the agencies being funded through that Public Safety Reserve.
When Hawkins County’s $40 wheel tax increase was approved by the County Commission last year, the intent was for $30 to go toward the county general fund and $10 to be set aside to fund public safety contributions, which were budgeted at $584,660 in 2017-18.
For the current fiscal year, the entire $40 was needed to balance the budget. But as the fund balance gets caught up, the goal is to pay all public safety contributions with that $10, as well as grow savings.
The resolution identifies the agencies funded through the Public Safety Reserve to include volunteer fire departments, both rescue squads, EMS, the Emergency Response Team, Red Cross and HCHS.
Budget Committee Chairman Stacy Vaughan said the resolution outlines where the $10 will go, and this gives those agencies a reliable revenue stream.
"They're not going to be depending on what we have with our general fund," Vaughan said. "They'll be depending on the $10 wheel tax revenue."
Budget Committee member Nancy Barker questioned why the Humane Society was included in the Public Safety Reserve.
The Humane Society was listed as a recipient in the original wheel tax increase resolution last year.
The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office isn't equipped for animal control, and Vaughan said the average citizen may not realize how much of a help the Humane Society is to public safety.
HCSO Chief Deputy Tony Allen told the committee the HCSO answers about six animal complaints per month and the Humane Society is called in at least once per week to pick up animals.
Vaughan noted that aside from responding to animal complaints/rescue, the Humane Society also takes in animals when their owner has passed away and there's no one else to care for them.
The Budget Committee took no action on the resolution, and it will be considered for approval by the full commission when it meets May 21.