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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Council making progress with budget

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Clay County Council made some more headway on the second day of budget hearings Wednesday.

So far, the council has been able to cut more than $250,000 out of the 2009 proposed budget, pushing it past one-quarter of it's goal of needing to cut $919,139.

"We are still sitting pretty good," Council President Mike McCullough told The Brazil Times. "We still have a couple areas to review supplies and other services before we start looking at salaries and potential raises."

The biggest single cut Wednesday came from Road Supplies out of the Local Road and Street Fund. The fund is money that comes from the state, but the council cut $50,000, leaving $300,000 in the budget.

"The state sends a set amount each year and $350,000 may be more that we get," Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh said. "If we get more than $300,000, we can always place the remainder in the fund with an additional appropriation."

The council reduced a number of line items in the Sheriff's and Jail funds, which is a typical occurrence.

The biggest cut came for the lease of vehicles as both the council and Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton hashed out what the county could afford.

Heaton informed the council that he hopes to purchase four new cars and a used vehicle to replace older cars and the detective vehicle.

"We have some cars that are five- and six-years-old that are starting to have a few problems," Heaton said. "We could probably get another year out of them, but if we get new vehicles it would help prevent the possibility of being down a car if they start to break down."

The council chose to allow Heaton to purchase the four cars, but not a new detective vehicle at this time, which cut nearly $18,500 more from the proposed budget.

Heaton also addressed the council's questions about a $55,000 increase in the jail's proposed budget for medical and hospital expenses.

"Basically, we have some inmates that need to be sentenced and they are costing us a lot of money in medical expenses," he said.

"Some of them have been sitting there too long for some smaller charges. We have one inmate who is in for stealing a little bit of gas and is costing us more than $4,000 in medical bills because we have to take care of them while they are here."

The council decided to cut $15,000, leaving $170,000 in that specific line item.

Even though the council has finished two of the three scheduled days of budget hearings, McCullough admitted today's session will be the longest.

"Reviewing salaries and potential raises is also the toughest part," he said.

"It's hard trying to allow for the hiring of new employees who may be needed and figuring out what to pay them while trying to find the money for it all. That's why we wait until the end to look at salaries so we can give them what we can."

Today's budget hearing began at 9 a.m., in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.

If the council is unable to complete the hearing today, they may also conduct budget hearings Friday.

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