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Leaders warn of tough 2010 budget process

During a work session Monday, Chilton County commissioners sent a clear message to county departments that the 2010 budget could be much tighter than this year’s version and much tighter than expected.

“We better be prepared for a tight, tight budget,” commissioner Allen Caton said. “We are going to have our departments come in here and want, want and want. I am not sure if we’re going to be in a position to give.”

Commissioner Red Turnipseed reported that the county’s main source of revenue, ad valorem taxes, are currently down from last year and are more than 3 percent lower than expected.

“We are facing a situation where the ad valorem taxes are already lower than expected, and with property values going down, we can expect even lower amounts next year when they reappraise property,” Turnipseed said.

In reviewing the upcoming budget process, the commissioners reviewed the county sales tax that is collected monthly and goes directly to the county school system.

“If you look at this year, so far each month has been lower than the previous year,” commission chairman Tim Mims said. “That’s a trend I don’t expect to see changing.”

During the 2008 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, 2008, the county sales tax took in $3,068,677, which was a 2.74 percent decrease from the year before.

So far in this fiscal year, the sales tax has taken in $1,898,422, a drop of more than 5 percent from the previous year.