Life’s successes are often due to many factors. Some would say luck is important for success. Others say success is due to hard work, timing, experience and/or education. All these factors and more can contribute to success, but one attribute we can not and must not overlook is planning. Planning is projecting out into the future, looking at “what if” and “what could be” and formulating a path to achieve a particular goal.
A little over seven years ago, we formulated a financial plan for Roane County. I have written and talked about it many times as we implemented financial policies of debt management, capital, and fund balances. Thank you County Commission for seeing and supporting the vision. Here is the success and how it is paying off. First, we have not borrowed for General Capital purposes in the last seven (7) years. Up until FY11, we borrowed basically every year. In FY12 we established Capital Funds to take care of the small cost capital items with the goal of using our borrowing capacity for big-ticket items. One of those big-ticket items is Jail Expansion. As early as 2010, our administration recognized the need for the jail expansion and started planning for this capital investment. I am pleased and proud to say that Roane County Government appears to be able to build Phase II of a Jail expansion program at an estimated cost of $5-6 million without a tax increase.
Yes, we saw the vision. We executed a financial plan. We managed capital and debt. We developed 30-year debt budgets. We refinanced debt when appropriate. We paid the debt off early when possible. We did not do further borrowing. Finally, we positioned ourselves for the right timing to have the least financial impact on our citizens. Yes, we will have to borrow to build Phase II, but our General Debt Fund has sufficient revenue and fund balance to satisfy our new proposed debt requirements without a tax increase. Our tentative schedule for Phase II of Jail Expansion is hiring Architects in March 2018. We plan to borrow in the Spring of 2019 and begin construction after financing is finalized. More to come on the plan as we work with the Architects. The Budget Committee met March 20, 2018 and after reviewing the multi-year debt budgets, recommended the General, Rural Education, and Education Debt Service budgets for 2019. Planning Our Future Is Important.