Commission funds may aid agencies

Published 10:37 am Thursday, September 11, 2008

A push to boost the Pike County Commission’s discretionary funds sparked debate during budget planning, but local agencies may benefit from the move.

The commission’s discretionary funds are useful for the county, said County Attorney Allen Jones.

“Every bit of that money goes back to the people of Pike County in some form,” Jones said. “The discretionary funds are primarily used for special projects or appropriations.”

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With a discretionary fund originally proposed at $18,000, the commission ultimately voted for an increase to $27,600 — the highest the current commission has had.

Jones said the discretionary funds can be allotted to local organizations or used for approved travel expenses.

To use the funds, commissioners must follow an approval process set by the county and state public examiners, Jones said.

“It has to be an organization that renders services primarily to the citizens of Pike County and that the funds are used to benefit the county as opposed to salaries, administrative costs, etc.,” Jones said. “This process was established with the assistance and input of those state examiners, and they are aware of the discretionary fund and its purpose.”

County Administrator Harry Sanders said he and Jones approve requests submitted by. commissioners.

Jones said many local agencies, schools or other volunteer organizations qualify for appropriations under these conditions.

Organizations like the American Red Cross and the Boy Scouts do not apply because their services extended beyond Pike County, he said.

Jones said commissioners rarely use discretionary funds to travel, but it can be used for that if it will benefit the county.

“It has to be proper travel, meaning travel to a seminar or meeting or any event that is either sponsored by some sort of organization or the county receives benefit,” Jones said. “If a commissioner goes down and meets with other commissioners from all over the state, that is something that is approved. If it’s just a social trip, then certainly not.”

This year County Commissioners had $2,000 each in discretionary money. Commissioners Homer Wright and Charlie Harris have used their funds for travel this year, but they also donated to local agencies.

Other commissioners appropriated all their funds to other groups, with the exception of Adam Drinkwater, who has spent $25 on a conference registration fee.

The following breakdown shows how each commissioner distributed his discretionary fund this year:

District 1 Homer Wright:

-Troy University, $200

-Pike County Elementary School, $150

-Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA), $25

-Charles Henderson High School, $125

-ACCA, $185

-Perdido Beach Resort, $466.20

District 2 Robin Sullivan:

-Pike Animal Shelter, $500

-CHHS, $300

-Troy University, $250

-CHHS, $125

-CHHS, $500

-ACCA, $25

District 3 Jimmy Barron:

-Pike County Sheriff’s Department, $500

-RSVP, $500

-Pike Animal Shelter, $500

-CHHS, $125

-Banks Volunteer Fire Department, $500

District 4 Ray Goodson:

-Pike County High School, $300

-Banks School, $500

-Brundidge Nutrition Center, $350.25

-CHHS, $125

-PCHS, $500

-Pike County Extension, $300

District 5 Charlie Harris:

-Pike County 4-H, $500

-Holiday Inn, $11.87

-ACCA, $110

-CHHS, $125

-Troy University, $200

-ACCA, $25

-ACCA, 185

-Perdido Beach Resort, $466.20

District 6 Adam Drinkwater/David Carpenter:

-ACCA, $25

-Pike Animal Shelter (Carpenter), $100

-Goshen High School (Carpenter), $100