Commission begins tackling budget issues

Published 9:23 am Thursday, August 16, 2012

With the end of the fiscal year approaching on Sept. 30, the Crenshaw County Commission is beginning to tackle budget matters.

At Monday’s meeting, the Commission heard from Revenue Commissioner Sherry McSwean, who brought up the need for an in-house mapper for her department.

For the past several years, Flagship GIS has served as the mapper for the county, but McSwean said their fee went up last year and it is going up again this year.

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“I’ve gotten an anticipated contract from Flagship, and they’re raising their rates an additional $1,500,” McSwean said.

Last year, McSwean proposed finding an in-house mapper for the county, but because of the short time frame, no action was taken and the Commission re-signed with Flagship.

“I want you to consider maybe going ahead and getting an in-house mapper again for the county, not just because the outsourcing keeps going up, but because it’s also a lot of work for us to outsource,” McSwean said.

McSwean said that when her office is presented with a mapping problem related to land boundaries and taxes, much of the research duty falls on her office, whereas an in-house mapper could assume those duties.

She said that last year she had gotten some interest from a former mapper from another county who is retired and wanted to work part-time.

“The problem with doing it in-house is that we will have to buy software and hardware and set up a workstation,” McSwean said. “Up front, that approximately another $12,000 that we don’t usually see.”

McSwean also said that a solution would have to be found by Oct. 1.

The Commission also met with E-911 director Scott Stricklin, who was on hand to discuss the county’s E-911 funding for the upcoming year.

State funds are available for the dispatching of emergency calls, but funding from local entities is dictated by the volume of non-emergency calls.

Stricklin said that he didn’t think there had been a significant drop in volume from the Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Office, but he would have to compare the numbers.

“If their volume of work went up, but they were doing some of it themselves, we wouldn’t be able to see it by looking at the numbers,” Stricklin pointed out.

The Commission didn’t spend much time on the issue, instead electing to take up funding matters at special budget hearings.

In other business, the Commission heard from Sheriff Charles West, who said that his department is still operating without specialized law enforcement software.

“It keeps rocking on and rocking on and no one’s doing anything,” West said.

No action was taken on the matter.