Cherokee County Administrator Tim Burgess explained that this year’s budget reflects decreases, including the pro rata courthouse expense including utilities, housing and maintenance.
Because of an employee change, the county was able to decrease that amount, he said,
“We budgeted $193,000 in our elections for the prior year,” said Burgess.
“We had three. This year, the only election we have is our November election, budgeting $79,220, which is what we paid for the last full election.
“We decreased that item by $114,000.”
Projected expenditures, totaling $18,655,246, includes $5,667,223 for the general fund,
$1,751,702 for the total jail fund, $718,050 from the road and bridge fund, $122,000 from the highway and traffic fund, $758,000 for the highway sales tax fund, $467,751 for debt service, $825,000 for total reappraisal fund, $503,400 for revenue commissioner fund, $7,500 for work release fund, $10,000 for special mental health fund, $500 for manufactured home fund, $4,775 for law library fund, $20,400 for district attorney fund, $45,000 for worthless check fund, $150,000 for CDBG fund, $40,000 for grant escrow fund, $150,000 for landfill usage royalty fund, $175,000 for capital improvements fund, $90,953 for nutrition fund and $42,742 for public transportation fund. Total transfers include $3,354,135.
Projected revenues include $5,667,223 from general fund, $1,751,702 from jail fund, $122,000 from highway and traffic fund, $1,749,115 from gas tax fund, $1,000 from 3-R fund, $1,540,000 from highway sales tax fund, $4,509,115 from tobacco tax fund, $467,751 from debt service, $825,000 from reappraisal fund, $503,400 from revenue commissioner fund, $7,500 from work release fund, $10,000 from special mental health fund, 4500 from manufactured home fund, $4,775 from law library fund, $20,400 from district attorney fund, $45,000 from worthless check fund, $150,000 from CDBG fund, $40,000 from grant escrow fund, $150,000 from landfill usage royalty fund, $175,000 from capital improvements fund, $90,953 from nutrition fund, $42,742 from public transportation fund and $3,354,135 from transfers.
The following shall become effective with the passage of the Cherokee County Commission 2012/2013 fiscal year budget:
-1. Employee Vacation Sell Back shall be limited to a maximum of 100 hours for the December period. Employees will be subject to original personnel policy procedures concerning carryover hours. The June Vacation Sell Back will be decided at a later date as funds permit.
-2. The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce will be granted $10,000 for lawn maintenance at Gadsden State Community College.
-3. The Commission will continue a contract with Code Red for early weather warning services in the amount of $10,000.
-4. The Parks and Recreation Board shall be granted $35,000 for capital improvements and an additional $15,000 for direct support in addition to the 1 percent lodging tax appropriation. Capital improvement funds shall be provided only to complete the development of the existing Cherokee Rock Village.
-5. Appropriate $5,000 for county website.
-6. The Commission shall designated $10,000 to the Airport Authority. The Commission shall appropriate $500 per month from the designated $10,000 directly to the Airport Authority Fund.
Carryover courthouse security building project for an approximate cost of $50,000.
The Commission shall distribute 20 percent of the Highway Sales Tax portion to the Gas Tax Fund for operations
Purchase of equipment for the sheriff’s office will be determined at a later date as funds permit.
The Commission shall distribute $432,000 of the Highway Sales Tax portion to the Jail fund for operations.
Public Health and Related Programs Annual Appropriations requests from the Health Care Authority, totaling $387,646, were approved upon the passage of the budget as follows:
-Solid waste officer, $54,761; Cherokee County Health Department, $35,000; Cherokee County Department of Human Resources-Welfare, $2,500; Cherokee County Department of Human Resources-Foster Parents, $1,500; Child Development Program, $4,000; Etowah/Cherokee MR 310, $5,000; Childrens Policy Council, $5,000; Indigent Funerals, $2,000; CED Mental Health, $5,000; Nutrition Program, $90,953; Animal Control, $93,942; Cherokee County Decentralized Waste Water Authority, $5,000; National Alliance on Mental Illness, $5,000; Cherokee County Humane Society, $25,000; Cherokee County Ambulance Service, $14,995; Piedmont Ambulance Service, $14,995; and Animal Control Vehicle, $23,000.
Because of the current economic situation, the commission was unable to give employee raises this year. Commissioners, as Commission Chairman/Probate Judge Melvyn Salter noted in a previous meeting however that they consider themselves fortunate they have not had to cut hours or lay off any employees as been done in other municipalities.
For the past few years, Burgess explained, the county has had to cover debt from the Cherokee County Detention Center.
“In 2008, we collected $699,727 in sales tax for the jail,” said Burgess. “If you round that off, that is $700,000 in sales tax for the jail which is intended to run the jail. That is back when the jail budget was $1 million. We had to find about $300,000 to supplement the jail. And we did that through the general fund.”
“Now you will notice that in 2012, five years later, in the 20012-2013 budget, we collected $757,000,” said Burgess. “The sales tax increased from 2008 to the year ending 2012. It went up $57,000 but our jail budget has gone from $1 million to $1.7 million. And it is a problem that we have had, when you take into consideration the amount that is going for public safety in all the offices we have to run here, the supplement has got to come from somewhere.”
“We did have reappraisal a few years ago,” said Burgess. “The values and ad valorem tax has not gone up near the amount to help fund or supplement our jail. So we’ve got a little bit of a funding problem here. It is not that anybody is doing a bad job and wasting money, although we can be better and cut some things, it is just a simple fact that our revenues and our economy have not grown to meet the demands of the services that were provided. So that gives you some sort of idea why we are in the predicament that we are in now.“