County enters emergency spending mode

Published 12:11 pm Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Chilton County Commission voted to go into emergency spending mode for the remainder of August and month of September leading up to the 2014 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

Any and all purchases from each department in the county must have a purchase order, and all requests will either be approved or denied by commission Chairman Allen Caton.

What concerns the commission, Caton said on Wednesday, is having the county short on funds for September as well as the possibility of being short on funds for the first two months of the new budget for the 2014 fiscal year.

“We get some money at the beginning of the fiscal year but most of our revenue doesn’t come in until January, February and March,” Caton said.

Commissioners have placed all departments in the county on emergency mode the last four years leading up to the beginning of the fiscal year.

“It is typically around this time of the month every year that we take a look at the funds and decide to place everyone on emergency spending mode,” Caton said.

Normally, departments within the county can spend money allotted in their budget without requiring a purchase order approved by Caton.

The emergency spending mode simply requires that any purchase made from a department leading up to Oct. 1 be approved or denied by Caton.

Caton said most of the departments were more than likely expecting the emergency mode to be put in place, and it shouldn’t affect most of the departments due to most of the departments being within their budgeted limitations.

“The only department this might affect is the Sheriff’s department because that department is the only one who is short on funds right now,” Caton said.

Caton explained that if a department requests a purchase order in the emergency spending mode period, he will determine if it is an “emergency” or not.

“The purchase orders will be sent to the commission office or they will e-mail it to me,” Caton said. “I will then take a look at it and determine if it should be approved or not.”

Commissioners Greg Moore, Tim Mims, Bobby Agee, Joe Headley, Caton and Heedy Hayes voted in favor of placing the county in emergency spending mode with commissioner Shannon Welch voting against the motion.

Welch said on Wednesday he had concerns about putting all departments in emergency spending mode when some of them have operated within their budget this year.

Although Welch said he wasn’t on the commission when the previous budget was implemented due to being elected in November, it has become a regular custom for the commission each year to go into emergency spending mode.

“I am just wondering how much money the emergency spending mode will actually save the county,” Welch said. “I know it is an unknown factor because you don’t know what is going to come up but I simply voted against the motion because I didn’t think it was right to punish everyone.”