BUDGET TIME: County Commission passes budget

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, September 13, 2016


The Pike County Commission passed the budget for the upcoming fiscal year on Monday by a unanimous vote.

The commissioners held their second budget hearing after their regular meeting and quickly agreed to grant requested additional funding to the Pike County Sheriff’s Office and the Pike County Road Department. All other agencies were level-funded.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

County employees were also granted a 3 percent cost of living increase.

“We just don’t have any money to do anything else,” Chairman Joey Jackson said at the meeting.

The balanced budget came out to just over $17 million.

Sheriff Russell Thomas shook up the first budget hearing last month by detailing the need for a new jail, but the costs that were approved on Monday refer to Thomas’s other request for an increase of $1,300 to maintain software that the state no longer funds.

The road department’s request approval is contingent on federal funds from FEMA, county administrator Harry Sanders said.

Sanders said that nearly $2 million in reimbursements should be coming from FEMA in relation to damage done in Christmas Eve Storms last year.

County engineer Russell Oliver requested new equipment approvals, including replacing an old dump truck, at the first budget hearing. However, the request would not require additional funds.

The commissioners expressed concern about when the FEMA money would be able to come in with massive natural disasters such as flooding in Louisiana.

“If the FEMA money is behind, we’ll adjust,” Oliver responded.

There was also some discussion at the previous meeting as to whether the county should give all employees raises or implement step-raises that honor experience with the county. The commissioners ultimately decided to continue as planned with the 3 percent raise. The raise last year was 4 percent.

County administrators said that a finalized budget will be available once it is revised to meet the order of the commissioners.

According to Sanders, this is the earliest that the commission has passed a budget in years. By state law, the commission is required to pass a balanced budget by the end of September.

The commission normally uses all of that time and has even held special meetings to pass the budget in time, but was able to get this budget through before even holding its second September meeting.

At their regular meeting, the commission approved the awarding of seven annual bids to the low bidders and a contract to S&W construction for the fiscal year. They also approved a resurfacing project on County Road 5516 (Swindall Road), a bridge replacement on County Road 6618, and a contract with Lee County Youth Development.