Director of Accounts and Budgets Russell Robinson breaks down key points of Johnson County’s budget during the Thursday, June 17 county commission meeting. Reports show great growth in community finances. Photo by Meg Dickens
By Meg Dickens
Johnson County is a rural community beneath the poverty line. While the national pandemic has been hitting economies hard, this community shows signs of growth in both population and finances. Director of Accounts and Budgets Russell Robinson explained the details while presenting the 2021-2022 fiscal year’s budget on Thursday, June 17.
“We’ve seen phenomenal growth in the state with sales tax,” said Robinson. “We’ve seen phenomenal growth in this county with sales tax.”
According to Robinson, through the end of April, the county has collected approximately $1.9 million in local option sales tax, which is $100,000 more than the previous year’s total. This year’s budget is balanced, and the tax rate will reportedly drop from $2.05 to $1.84 to maintain a balance with property taxes.
The money stems from three places, one of which is more substantial than the other two. According to Robinson’s report, the majority of this money is from alcohol sales in the community. Government officials started approving beer and liquor licenses near the end of 2019. This type of sales tax is split between different entities, with public schools receiving around 50 percent and local government splitting the remainder.The other monetary buffers to Johnson County revolve around government assistance from COVID-19 funds and revenue from particular new stores in the county, mentioning specifically the newer Dollar General in Shady Valley.
Along with the financial growth, Johnson County is also heading towards paying off its debts. Robinson explained that the local government will be debt-free as of 2028, joining 15 other counties in the state of Tennessee. According to Robinson, this is a significant accomplishment.
“The county is reaching a milestone,” Robinson explained to present county commissioners.
For more information about the Johnson County Commission, visit the county website, johnsoncountytn.gov. For more information about the 2021-2022 budget, attend the public hearing for approval in the upstairs courtroom at the Johnson County Court House on June 28. Anyone with an issue to bring before the county can sign up to speak before monthly meetings. Keep an eye on The Tomahawk’s community announcements for meeting days and times.