Commissioner responds on discretionary funds

Published 10:50 pm Friday, March 23, 2012

After reading a recent ‘letter to the editor” regarding the Pike County Commission and the use of “discretionary funds”  I think it is necessary to try to explain what these funds are and what they can or can’t be used for and how the funds allocated for District 4 have been appropriated.

First, let me make it very clear. Every dime in this fund and in every fund that the Commission is responsible for is audited each and every year by the Alabama State Department of Examiners of Public Accounts. There are very specific guidelines that must be followed in order to appropriate these funds. These funds are part of the County’s General Fund and they are not a part of a Commissioner’s salary, it is not any Commissioners personal money. This is one Commissioner that understands that this is still the people’s money. I have not now nor will I ever will forget that fact. I take very seriously the responsibility for the $4,600 that has been allocated to District 4 this year and any amount in any previous year, as long as I have been representing this District. The expenditure of these funds are all part of the public record, and I will let my record speak for itself.

Next, I would like to explain my priorities for the funds allocated for District 4 and the reason I have supported the allocation of these funds, when we have been able to make them. There have been years when we didn’t allocate funds for this purpose because they simply were not available.

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I am on record and I am proud to say that I will continue to support the young people and the senior citizens of my District and this County. These are always the first people I think of when it is time to set priorities. Our young people are our future and it is each of our responsibility to insure that they have every opportunity to be successful and work to earn a good living. The elderly have earned our respect and support. With God’s blessing we may all someday be fortunate enough to be counted among that number.

Therefore, I have consistently approved of District 4’s funds to be spent for education of young people through our public schools and the 4H program. I have also actively sought additional funding for these groups from the state as well as having spent my own personal money for this purpose. I would never ask the taxpayers I represent to do something I was unwilling to do myself. I have seen firsthand how much many others have committed to this same goal. I know personally of many teachers who spend their own money to provide for the supplies and other needs of the children they teach. These public servants are worthy of all our support and their selfless example has been an inspiration to me and has encouraged me to honor their service by making every effort to help them help our children.

I use the term senior citizen with all respect and knowledge that this is a relative term. I take this term, senior citizen, to mean anyone that is at or beyond the age of retirement. These are people that have worked for a lifetime and now are at a point in their lives that they need our support. Therefore, I have approved of District 4’s funds to be spent for our seniors through our Senior Citizen’s Centers. The work that these Centers have done is priceless and has made life a much richer and better experience for countless deserving people.

A Commissioner is responsible for a great deal more money than the amount in that District’s Discretionary Fund each year. The total budget for the fiscal year 2011-2012 is over $13.7 million. Every penny that belongs to the people of Pike County is of equal importance. I appreciate the privilege to serve the people of District 4 and I will always do my very best to make decisions in the best interest of all those people and for all of Pike County.

Again, as I have said on many occasions, I stand on my record of service to the people of Pike County and invite you to check out the facts of what I have said here.

All this information is public record.

Ray Goodson

Pike County Commission