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County’s $36.7 million budget includes jail, gas tax revenue

After tallying up all the accounts, Pike County’s budget comes out to more than $36 million – more than double last year’s budget.

However, much of that increase is based on two special revenue sources that have just become available to the county.

County Administrator McKenzie Wilson said the new Rebuild Alabama gas tax revenue and expenditures as well as the local jail construction tax revenue are both reflected within the budget.

“The jail tax budget includes what we have already collected,” Wilson said. “None of that money has been spent yet, so it has to be reflected in the budget.”

The $13 million figure includes the revenue already collected by the county as well as anticipated revenue from the tax in the upcoming fiscal year.

The gas tax revenue will not start coming in until January 2020, but the budget reflects approximately $5 million the county is prepared to borrow to repave 58 miles of road next year, with gas tax revenue paying off the bond s over the next 15 years.

Outside of those new accounts, Wilson said the budget has stayed much closer to previous years. However, the internet sales tax has nearly doubled since the prior year from $135,000 to $270,000 and the county has been able to set aside approximately $500,000 in unallocated funds, which can be used in emergency situations or saved for future expenses after this fiscal year.

“This is the best budget we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Wilson said.

Commission Chair Robin Sullivan agreed that the county is the healthiest financially that is has been since he has been on the commission.

In years past, budget hearings have included commissioners raking through to find line items that could be reduced or cut to make progress on other priorities. That included a 24-month plan to repave local rods before the passage of the state gas tax increase, the first repaving of local county roads in decades.

The county will be facing big expenses soon as the commission gets closer to building a new jail. The county has agreed to pay $1,670,000 for the Dunbar Drive property to build the new jail and the jail operating budget is expected to increase drastically once the facility is in use.

One extra expense added since the last meeting is for an additional deputy for the sheriff’s department and possibly another vehicle to support adding another school resource officer at Pike County Schools. Wilson said that the sheriff’s office and school system are still working out the details on the additional school resource officer.