Officials say County budget in line for new year

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County treasurer says budget in good shape.

By Calen McKinney

The County's expenses are falling well within the state's 65/35 rule.

State law requires that at the beginning of a new political term, which begins Jan. 3, County officials must have at least 65 percent of the budget remaining to operate.

Taylor Fiscal Court's Budgets, Audits and Personnel Committee met last Monday to discuss the status of the budget.

According to information Taylor County Treasurer Melissa Williams gave Committee members, the County has used 37 percent of its general fund, 60 percent of its road fund, 27 percent of the jail fund and 24 percent of the Local Government Economic Assistance fund. Williams said the 65/35 rule only applies to those four funds.

She said on Friday that if the County road fund goes over the 65 percent mark before Friday, Dec. 31, money can be moved from the general fund.

At Monday's meeting, the Committee discussed several line items in the jail and general funds that are above the 65 percent mark. Though those line items may be over the 65 percent mark, the funds total less than 35 percent spent.

All magistrates attended the meeting, with the exception of Milford Lowe. Williams also attended, as did Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers and Taylor County Jailer Rick Benningfield.


Jail fund

In the jail fund, more than 65 percent of the line items for part-time employees, medical and gasoline has been spent.

Benningfield said recent vacations and sick time have used a lot of the jail's part-time staff allocation.

He said the medical line item is more than 65 percent because several remaining claims from the jail's previous medical contract have been paid.

In the gas line item, he said, only $3,000 was budgeted. Jail staff has had to drive to other jails to pick up inmates. He said he recommends that the line item amount be increased in the next jail budget. Benningfield said he also recommends that some adjustments be made to utilities, travel and data processing line items.

Williams said the jail's revenue has fallen a bit short in December, though the County is currently due a payment for housing state prisoners.

Benningfield said the jail was averaging 120 state inmates. At one point, that number fell to 88 and is currently about 100. He said many state prisoners have been released in recent months, but he hopes that number will soon rise.

"We lobby a lot to get those prisoners," he said.

Williams said housing inmates is a budget concern.

"We just have to keep those state inmates in there," she said.

During his time as jailer, Benningfield said, he has made contacts with many other jailers who have helped him fill Taylor County's jail.

"If they've got them extra, they'd give them to me," he said.

He said he believes prisoner numbers will increase this month and that revenue will increase.

Monday's meeting was Benningfield's last as Taylor County's jailer. Eddie "Hack" Marcum will take the office on Jan. 3.

Benningfield said during the meeting that all jail inspections are up to date and he believes his staff has done a great job at keeping records.

Williams said she is pleased with the progress the jail has made.

"I was probably your worst skeptic because I didn't think it would work," she said to Benningfield. "And you made it work."


General fund

In the general fund, four line items were discussed.

The animal shelter overtime line item is over budget, as are the solid waste program support, cultural activities and City of Campbellsville prior occupational tax receipts.

Williams said only $1,500 was budgeted for animal shelter overtime.

The solid waste line item, she said, was used to provide a cleanup event for residents in the community. Williams said the remaining of that fund can be used to offer a spring cleanup.

The cultural activities line item, she said, is used to pay for community service projects, which magistrates can control.

Williams said this year should be the last that the County has to give the City of Campbellsville occupational tax money that was earned when the City and County shared the tax.

So far this fiscal year, the County has given the City $114,954.73 in prior occupational taxes.

Williams said the County's revenue is coming in as expected and she believes the budget looks good.

" ... There's a lot of counties that can't say that," she said.