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Manchester Finance Committee to freeze raises until budget process is complete

Manchester Budget and Finance Committee appears poised to offer raises to city employees for fiscal year 2024-2025 (which begins July 1). But next year’s budget will not be complete at the start of the year, leading the committee to freeze any raises until the budget process is complete.

In a special-called meeting Monday (June 24, 2024) at Manchester City Hall, newly hired finance director Anthony Burrows informed the committee that the Tennessee Comptroller’s office told him that the city’s budget must be finalized and in the state’s system by no later than August 31, 2024.

“Our audit will be completed by the auditors in July,” explained Burrows. “Obviously, it was 10 months delayed getting in there. But bottom line is it was completed and it is in there. They are making a really good effort to get it done in July.”

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Burrows is speaking about the 2022-23 budget, which was never properly submitted by the former finance director Lisa Myers to the state for auditing. That failure is slowing down the budget process for 2024-25.

Burrows said the city has about 2 months to get the budget completed:

Manchester Finance Director Anthony Burrows speaks at the finance committee meeting Monday, June 24, 2024. (THUNDER RADIO WMSR AUDIO)

Finance committee chairman Joey Hobbs suggested that Burrows work up a number for what a percentage raise would look like for the committee to discuss at its next meeting. Hobbs, who is also a county commissioner, informed the committee that Coffee County government plans an 8.5 percent raise for its employees as something to think about.

Finance Committee Chairman Joey Hobbs speaks about raises Monday, June 24, 2024.

Hobbs added that while raises are being frozen for now, once the budget is passed employees can receive back pay retroactive to July 1, which is the start of the budget year. He also added that an additional salary study raise will be discussed later once a percentage raise is put into place. The committee noted that it did not plan to recommend a percentage pay hike across the board for all employees, but for a total line item for department heads to disburse at their discretion.

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The Finance Committee will meet again on July 16th with more frequent meetings to follow until a budget can be presented to the full Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen on August 6th.

Hobbs and alderman Mark Messick both signaled that with needed raises, new positions and necessary repairs the city budget will likely be at a deficit.

Alderman Hobbs says the city budget may be at a deficit for 2024-25.

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