Budget passes: Commission approves funding for agencies

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Pike County Commission on Monday approved the 2014-2015 budget but not without disagreement.

District 6 Commissioner Joey Jackson expressed his disapproval of an additional $10,000 appropriation being made to the Boys and Girls Club.

“I thought we put one in there (last year) that was an one-time appropriation to the Boys and Girls Club for $10,000,” Jackson said to the commission. “Does that mean that we are going to give them 10,000 more this year?”

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Jackson said during the two years he had been a part of the commission not much has been done to fix the roads.

“I understand helping everyone out, that’s fine and good. But what are we doing about our roads?” Jackson said. “If we don’t pay for those roads to be fixed, no one is going to give us money. I’ve been on this board for two years, and we haven’t come up with a plan. I tried to get a committee together to talk to the public about our situation, and y’all told me not to do that so it was dismissed off the agenda.”

District 3’s Jimmy Barron agreed.

“I agree with Mr. Jackson,” Barron said. “There’s got to be a stopping point. The totals keep going up and up and the same ones are coming back asking for $8,000 or $9,000 more dollars. We’re dipping into our general funds.”

Commissioners Homer Wright, Robin Sullivan, Ray Goodson and Charlie Harris voted to approve the budget. Jackson and Barron both voted against it.

“I stayed on the phone for an hour talking to the County Engineer about a collapsed pipe throughout the district,” Jackson said. “We have pipes deteriorating underneath our roads. It isn’t going to get any better. I can see it where I live at more and more. I am fine with the budget passing, our employees getting raise our road department getting motor graders, but … We told our employees last year they couldn’t’ have a rise. Sometimes we have to say no and that’s just how it is. We have problems that we aren’t fixing.”

Other items included in the budget were $2,500 for the Pike County Sheriff’s Department to purchase computer-aided software for the E911 system and a $50,000 set aside stipend for the Rock Building.

David Helms, a representative for the Rock Building, said the group trying to restore the building is still waiting to hear back about the grant through the Alabama Historical Society. “We are waiting on the grant,” Helms said. “We’re trying to get some other feelers out about some other avenues.”

Commissioners approved the approximately $33,000 line item to pay for software for processing and renewing car tags for the Probate Judge’s office, but commissioners are asking the software purchase be let for bid.

Allen Jones spoke on behalf of the Probate Office, saying the judge had quoted the costs from a specific software company based on recommendations from several other probate courts “which have switched to this company.” Jones said both he and the probate judge thought the recommendation for purchasing met bid law exceptions, since it pertains to specific software.

Sanders urged commissioners to go ahead and approve the budget and, if necessary, call for a bids at a later date.

The Pike County Commission’s next meeting was set for Oct. 13, Columbus Day, but the Commissioners voted to cancel that session and meet on Oct. 27 in the Pike County Health Department.