Budget talks begin for PCC

Published 11:00 pm Monday, August 8, 2011

The Pike County Commission held the first round of budget hearings on Monday.

The good news is that the commission will not have to borrow money to balance its 2011-2012 budget and could possibly pass a budget with a $200,000 surplus.

Homer Wright, Commission chair, said level funding from the different departments, with the exception of the Revenue Commissioners office and the Sheriff’s Department that placed requests below budget, and the team efforts of the commission, the different departments and the elected officials made their work much easier than in years past.

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Commissioner Robin Sullivan said in 2004, it didn’t look like the commission could even pass a budget.

“This is a good looking budget,” Sullivan said. “We’re not going to have to borrow money, so we’ve come a long way.”

Russell Oliver, county engineer, reported that the paving of County Road 5521 or the Sandpile Road was completed on Monday. The two-mile road was paved with CDBG funding.

“Our workers did an excellent job and they are to be commended,” Oliver told the commissioners, who in turn, expressed their appreciation to the employees for their dedication to work well done.

Wiregrass RC&D funding will be available for work slated for County Road 7755 or the Gardner Bassett Road in the amount of $7,700.

Pike County Administrator Harry Sanders told the commissioners that the redistricting plan that the commission and the Pike County Board of Education is working on together still needs to be adjusted but “we are closing in on that.”

The commissioners granted a request by Probate Judge Wes Allen to advertise for a position in his office. The commissioners also granted a request by Sanders to provide matching funds for a Drug Task Force grant.

In discussions, Commissioner Jimmy Barron brought back to the table the issue of self-governance.

County Attorney Allen Jones said the issue was before the Commission two years ago and was ready to be put on the ballot.

“However, because of the lack of the technology necessary to identify those who could and who could not vote in the referendum, it had to be postponed,” Jones said. “That technology is now available.”

At the commission’s request for limited self-governance will be back on the agenda.

Barron said self-governance has been passed by the state legislature but must be put to a vote by eligible voters in the county before it is granted to the local commission.

“The self-governance will be limited to weeds, junkyards, litter, rubbish, pollution, unsanitary sewage and animal control,” Barron said.

The commissioners also discussed the discipline of county employees and whether department heads should have the authority to hire or fire employees without the approval of the commissioners.

Barron said the Pike County Commission is the governing body of the county and should remain involved in the hiring and firing process.

Robin Sullivan, Ray Goodson, Charlie Harris and Oren Fannin expressed opinions that the department heads should have the final say. Wright said he had questions about the issue.

The Pike County Commission will meet again on Aug. 22 on the second floor of the Pike County Health Department.