County to begin budget hearings Monday

Published 3:00 am Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Pike County Commission will have a busy day Monday as they begin budget hearings ahead of their regularly scheduled meeting.

County administrator Harry Sanders said he isn’t expecting much to change in this year’s budget.

“I don’t see a lot of changes in the budget from the previous year,” Sanders said. “There may be some discussion about some things, but I don’t see a lot of change forthcoming.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Sanders said the hearings will be a good exercise for new commissioners Russell Johnson and Chad Copeland.

“This will be their first budget,” Sanders said. “They’ve been very involved and interested in how things come together, so I expect it to be a good experience for them.”

The commission is tasked with getting the budget figured out before October 1.

“This is the normal process that we start here in August,” Sander said. “It has to be passed by the end of September and we have to have a new budget by October 1; that’s our legal requirement. We usually pass it the last meeting of September, it depends on complexity of questions that are asked and on how long it takes for commissioners to get things aligned in the budget. We’ll know more about that through this first meeting.”

Of course, the commission has spent the better part of the year tackling how to move forward on a new jail project, but Sanders said that the jail shouldn’t have any effect on this budget process.

“There will be an impact post-construction,” Sanders said. “We do have some new revenue from court costs to operate the jail, but there won’t be any direct impact in this budget.”

Once the budget hearings are over, the commission will move to it’s regular meeting, which will include a proposal by TCU Consulting Services on the jail feasibility study and program management that the commission has been working to get for months.

Johnson, who serves on the jail committee, said that the service will be presenting a detailed proposal on what the firm will offer the county and a price for their services.

“They went back and renegotiated and brought in some other groups of people to tone some things,” Johnson said. “That’s what they’re supposed to be bringing us Monday night… We’re going to tell them what we can afford to operate and they’ll tell us how much can be functional day one. They’re going to help us pick the sites; everything we’ve been trying to do all year, they’re going to be giving us a price Monday night.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Johnson said. “It’s something that we’ve never done before in the county.”

The commission will meet at 3 p.m. Monday to begin budget hearings upstairs at the Pike County Health Department.

They will continue with a work session at 5:15 p.m. and conclude with the regular meeting at 6 p.m.