County passes budget

Published 10:35 am Wednesday, September 10, 2008

After weeks of discussion, the Pike County Commission approved a budget Monday that grants county employee raises and increases commissioners’ discretionary funds.

But some commissioners want to amend the $11.5 million budget as it stands now.

“I’m not too happy because our 4-H office didn’t get any money,” said District 4 Commissioner Ray Goodson. “But, I think we’ll look at that. We’ve got the money now, and I feel like it’s very important.”

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Pike County Extension Agent Tammy Powell attended the county’s work session to discuss the need for funding for the 4-H office.

The Extension Service gets $10,000 from a $150,000 sales tax fund set aside to support local agencies. But Powell said without the additional money the county has given in the past, they will not be able to fund the 4-H agent assistant position.

Goodson said last year the commission granted $25,000.

During discussion, District 3 Commissioner Jimmy Barron proposed to reduce the commissioner’s discretionary funds, which was raised to $27,000 at the last budget hearing.

“I would like the commission projects lowered to $18,000 from $27,000,” Barron said. “With our shortfall, I think we need to cut back on our commission projects.”

Barron was the only commissioner to vote “no” on passing the budget.

District 5 Commissioner Charlie Harris was the first to make a motion on passing the budget, and District 6 Commissioner Adam Drinkwater made an amendment based on Barron’s request.

However, the motion did not carry, and the budget was passed as is.

“I think the budget will be sufficient for this county,” Harris said. “I think it’s a good budget where everybody comes out getting what they need.”

Harris said there will be a need for some amendments in the budget’s future.

The $11.5 million budget includes both funding for the road department and the county’s general fund.

For this budget, County Engineer Russell Oliver said the road department had to sell equipment to avoid a shortfall, but there will be a need to look toward the future.

Oliver presented a 10-year equipment need to the commission to look at setting aside a fund for the future.

“We’re just trying to prevent waking up one morning and realizing we have to borrow $10 million dollars,” Oliver said. “The idea here is to try to set aside a certain amount of money each year for our equipment needs.”

No decision was made on a future equipment fund for the road department.

In other business:

A bid was awarded for the paving of Reynolds and Salem Roads.

A public hearing for a request to vacate County Road 1177N will be set by the county attorney.

The county commission office was granted permission to begin discussing a possible retirement incentive with employees to see what the need is.

A one-time lump retirement sum payment was passed to grant employees retired before Oct. 1, 2008 an additional $12 per year worked.

County Road 4415 was named the Lamar Steed Road.

A liquor license was awarded to Ward’s Grocery.