Budget requests in for county

Published 6:37 pm Tuesday, July 13, 2010

County departments officially submitted their budget requests to the commission on Monday for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Revenue commissioner Deborah Crews requested an increased pay rate for the chief clerk, from $15.20 to $18 per hour, and proposed the development of a website where citizens could make online tax payments with check or debit card. Expense to the county would be an estimated $430. The Revenue Commissioner’s budget is $265,041 this fiscal year.

The sheriff’s department and correctional facility both asked for increases in salaries and wages for deputies and correctional officers. Sheriff Kenny Harden also requested an additional two deputies be added to the department, citing officer and citizen safety, an increased number of emergency calls, and the heavy volume of drugs in the county. Correctional facility administrator Al McKee requested an increase in pay rate per hour for four certified officers to $9 and requested the employment of a full-time cook at $8 per hour. The operational budget for the sheriff’s office in 2009-10 is $795,271, while the budget for the correctional facility is $638,353.

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Additionally, the sheriff’s office is seeking bids to purchase computers for vehicles and update departmental software to assist deputies in the field. Investigator Travis Johnson said the current software is 12 years old and out of date. The new software and computers would allow deputies quick access to information, either when serving warrants or during traffic stops.

County Engineer Dennis McCall is projecting a total budget of $3.7 million for the road department in 2010-11. McCall said increased gasoline usage has allowed the department to budget an estimated $300,000 in reserve funds each month for operational expenses. The road department’s primary source of revenue is the state’s gasoline tax fund.

McCall said revenue from the gasoline tax has remained consistent since the mid-1980s, but costs for equipment, fuel, insurance, payroll, and materials, have not. As such there’s no money available to address the deterioration of the county’s rural roads, he said.

McCall said the road department would employ 35 people next fiscal year.

EMA Director Bob Luman requested a budget $67,962 in 2010-11 versus $59,493 this year. Requesting level, or near level, funding for next fiscal year were the Board of Registrars office ($50,114), the commission office ($355,302), the courthouse annex and maintenance ($599,111), and the Probate Judge’s office ($372,841).