Muhlenberg County Judge-Executive Curtis McGehee said he and county magistrates are still working on revenue-generating proposals to help close a large loss of revenue from Tennessee Valley Authority.
The county has had to lay off workers as part of its effort to reduce costs, McGehee said in a recent interview.
The county had its “in lieu of taxes” funds from TVA reduced from $2.8 million during fiscal year 2019-20 to $500,000 for the current fiscal year, which began in July. TVA closed its last coal-fired power generating unit at Paradise, which resulted in cuts to its “in lieu of” funds to the county.
The county did carry over $1.1 million into its new budget, McGehee said previously. In an interview last week, McGehee said county officials are still working on items to generate revenue, such as creating a transfer station where garbage trucks would be charged by weight rather than a flat rate.
“The transfer station is still in talks, and I think in the not-too-distant future that will become a reality,” McGehee said. “I’m quite confident we will make that happen.”
The county has laid off 14 employees and cut other expenses.
“Our budget was pretty lean anyway,” McGehee said. “We don’t know if those cuts are going to be sufficient or not.”
County magistrates are also still considering attaching its 911 fee to a utility bill rather than to landline telephone bills. Landline telephones have declined with the rise of cellular phones, so there are fewer people paying the 911 fee.
“We feel the fairest way to include every family is to put it on a utility bill,” McGehee said, and the magistrates want to move forward on the plan.
Putting the fee on a utility bill would generate about $250,00 in revenue for the county, McGehee said.
A plan to offer 911 services to an adjacent county is not dead, but the outlook is uncertain, he said.
“That plan has not panned out as yet,” McGehee said. “There’s a possibility that could happen, but I’m not as optimistic as I was.”
The idea is that Muhlenberg’s dispatch center could provide services than some other counties at less expense than if the counties had their own center, McGehee said. He wouldn’t name counties Muhlenberg officials have met with, but said in one case, “I think we could have saved them $150,000, and it was not one of our larger counties.”
McGehee said, “it’s a difficult time for Muhlenberg County,” but Fiscal Court members are working together.
“The magistrates have been great to work with,” McGehee said. “... We all realize none of us have all the answers, but when we put our heads together it gives us a better chance to move forward.”
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @JamesMayse