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County budget still in line

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By Calen McKinney

Though some accounts have been spent a bit more than they should have, officials say the county's 2012-2013 budget is in great shape.

"There's nothing that's out of line," Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers told magistrates on Thursday night.

Magistrates, along with County Treasurer Melissa Williams, County Road Foreman Brian Smothers, Taylor County Animal Shelter Director John Harris and Taylor County Jailer Hack Marcum, met for a meeting of the county's Budgets, Audits and Personnel Committee to review the county's finances. Magistrates John Gaines and Dr. James Jones co-chair the Committee.

Williams gave members a copy of the county's road, jail and general fund, along with what percentage of the funds were spent during the first quarter of the fiscal year, July 1 to Sept. 30.

She said the line items that have been spent above the 25 percent mark were all expected. Some of the items such as insurance and registration fees require full payments up front, which means the item will appear spent beyond its budgeted amount until the end of the year.

"I don't see anything that concerns me," she said.

The budget, approved in June, totals about $10 million. As of Sept. 30, 25.66 percent of the general fund budget has been spent.

In the road fund, 25.32 percent of the nearly $1.6 million allotted has been spent and nearly 31 percent of the $3.1 million jail fund has been spent.

Nevertheless, Williams said, the jail budget is holding its own and continuing to bring in revenue from housing state inmates.

"Overall, I think the budget's in really good condition."

Magistrate Matt Pendleton asked if the cost for fuel has increased. In the road fund, nearly 30 percent of the $60,000 earmarked for fuel has been spent.

"I don't think that's too bad," Williams said. "Our road fund is in quite good shape."

Smothers said the county has lots of salt ready for winter, meaning the county shouldn't have to buy much, if any. He said the county may have used 30 tons last year, much less than in previous years.

Williams said building maintenance costs at the jail and Taylor County Judicial Center, which the Administrative Office of the Courts reimburses the county for, are increasing. Marcum said it simply costs more today to fix some items than it did in the past.

Pendleton asked why nearly 71 percent of the fund to pay animal shelter salaries has been spent so far this year.

Williams said another full-time employee has been hired since the budget was created, which has made the budgeted amount inaccurate. There aren't any part-time staff members there now, she said, so the $18,000 budgeted in that line item will be moved to pay full-time wages. That should help balance the shelter's budget, she said.

Smothers said he has used only about 8 percent of his overtime budget this year. He said the cost to replace street and stop signs is high, however, and that a lot are being replaced. The cost to replace a stop sign is $35 and it costs about $25 to replace street signs.

Williams said the road department has little debt, with one, two or three loans outstanding. And those, she said, will be paid soon.

After some more discussion, Jones said he wants to commend Williams and those involved with preparing the budget.

"Looks good."

"It looks better than I thought it did," Williams said.

Pendleton asked if the revenue side of the budget looks as good as expenses.

Williams said it does and several accounts have received more than budgeted so far this year.

"This is just the first quarter," Williams said. "Don't brag on us too much."

Jones said he believes magistrates and county officials are working very well together and that helps keep the budget in line.

"It takes everybody working together, Dr. Jones," Rogers said.

Also at the Meeting:

• Magistrates gave Marcum the go-ahead to research the cost of buying some new security cameras for the Taylor County Detention Center. He said some recently went out and several days passed before they were fixed. Marcum said he researched quotes from a company closer to Campbellsville to make service calls easier and faster.

• Smothers said he would like magistrates to consider splitting blacktop funding differently, perhaps based on how many miles of roadway the county maintains in each district.

Blacktop funds are currently split equally between the six districts. Smothers said that isn't fair to the districts that contain more road miles than others.

Of the 370 miles in the county, Pendleton said 77 are in his district. Smothers said Jones likely has the most, with Pendleton's and Magistrate Tommy Corbin's districts tied for a close second.