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County budget makes changes

Most county departments are facing cuts in the 2009-2010 fiscal year that begins Thursday.

The $14-$15 million county budget also includes other changes, such as allocating money to certain agencies in monthly increments rather than one lump sum.

Six of seven county commissioners approved the budget Monday night, among them chairman Tim Mims, who hadn’t voted for a budget since 1997. Mims said the new budget is a good one, though it doesn’t guarantee the county won’t go into emergency spending.

“When you take what the department heads requested and what we gave them, it’s a pretty good difference,” Mims said. “Instead of just giving everybody what they wanted, we did what we could afford.”

The following is a breakdown of cuts — along with some increases — between the old and new budgets, according to department:

Reappraisal department: cut by $18,000

Road department: cut by $204,000

Commission office: cut by $280,000

Probate office: cut by $21,000

Tax assessor’s office: increased by $8,800

Tax collector’s office: cut by $13,000

Department of motor vehicles and licenses: cut by $8,000

Elections: increased by $37,000

Board of Registrars: cut by $1,100

Data processing: cut by $20,000

Courthouse: cut by $4,000

The Chilton County Sheriff’s Department received level funding, which was equal to what they received at the beginning of last fiscal year.

The sheriff’s department and jail was allocated a combined budget of $3.6 million.

Commission Administrator Vanessa Hendrick also said health insurance increased by 10 percent, from $65,411 per month to $71,952.10 per month. That translates to a $79,000 yearly increase.

Commissioner Joe Headley said he voted against the budget because it was not as lean as he wanted it.

“I just really feel like it could have been cut some more,” Headley said, adding that he wanted to give less money to nonprofits and more to the road department.

Mims is hopeful that the commission will not have to borrow any money to close out the year.

This past year, the county went into emergency spending in January and imposed 8-percent, across-the-board cuts beginning in April.

The commissioners thanked the department heads, office staff and employees for their efforts to cut back.

“There were a lot of cuts made, and everybody worked with us,” Commissioner Allen Caton said.

In other business, the commission:

Voted down a motion to cancel the Monday, Dec. 28 meeting, 2-5.

Voted to hold monthly work sessions on the Mondays following meeting dates.

Agreed to keep using the same banks for 2009-2010.