Fiscal year budgets proposed for Pike County

Published 9:16 pm Monday, August 25, 2014

The Pike County Commission on Monday reviewed 2015 budget requests from county departments.

The fiscal year begins Oct. 1, and Monday’s hearing was the first of several meetings the commissioners will hold in preparing the final budget. Those presenting budgets on Monday included Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen, Circuit Court Judge Shannon Clark, Pike County Engineer Russell Oliver, EMA Director Jeanna Barnes and County Commission Administrator Harry Sanders.

The courthouse’s proposed budget is a plan to renovate the main courtroom and courtroom B in the Pike County Courthouse.

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Clark spoke on behalf of courthouse representatives, and said they had received complaints from both jurors and other judges within the courthouse concerning the poor acoustics in the courtrooms.

“We started a couple of months ago trying to fix the hearing issues in the courthouse,” Clark said. “All of the estimates we’ve gotten said we needed to add some sort of soft surfaces to the main courtroom to improve the acoustics.”

While the renovations could be upwards of $25,000, Clark said judicial funds would more than likely match the money given by the county commission.

“Every dollar we can get from you we can hopefully match through the judicial system,” Clark said. “We were surprised at how it expensive it can be. It’s right around $25,000, including the ceiling and lighting. They will hopefully match dollar-for-dollar what you can give.”

Probate Judge Wes Allen reported over a $5,000 decrease in the Probate Office’s budget expense for the 2015 fiscal year saying the Probate’s Office had continued to look for ways to cut waste and duplicates from its budget. Allen said the Probate’s Office had worked hard to become more accessible to the general public over the last year by in several ways, including digitizing public records.

“We’ve back scanned to 1887 on deeds and 50 years on mortgages,” Allen said. “We’ve also taken steps to protect the record books. It’s an ongoing process to preserve the records and books, but in the event of a disaster we should be able to be functioning again in an efficient amount of time.”

Pike County Engineer Russell Oliver presented a proposed budget that included a plan to sell and replace four motor graders.

“They have high hours and are getting old now,” Oliver said. “Some of them are spending too much time in the shop. More time than we would like. We would like to sell all four of those and use the proceeds for a down payment for new machines.”

Of the other budgets discussed, the Courthouse, Coroner’s Office, Sheriff’s Department, and the County License Inspector requested more funding for its budgets.

The Sheriff’s Department proposed funds for another deputy’s salary, as well as a new animal control truck, the Coroner’s Office requested a $1,000 salary increase and the License Inspector requested $25,000 for a smaller vehicle.