Chilton County Commission delays budget vote

Published 1:03 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Chilton County Commission delayed a vote on the 2018 fiscal year budget at its Sept. 25 meeting amidst concerns about revenue.

Commissioners had planned to approve a budget with the same amounts as last year for every department, knowing that it could be amended later.

County Administrator Crista Madden said she had found mistakes in the projected revenue that would mean the county had less to work with.

“The revenues are going to be a challenge,” Madden said. “We have a lot of ground to make up.”

Madden said she wanted to go through the expenditures to see if there were mistakes that could be corrected to help the situation. These could include funds being listed to a department twice or a typo showing a department as receiving more funding than it actually did.

“By law, we have to have a balanced budget passed by the end of the month …We don’t have the money to do a level budget like we had planned to do,” Commissioner Joseph Parnell said.

The County Commission recessed their meeting and will reconvene it on Sept. 29 at 5 p.m. to work on and pass a budget.

Health care costs have been discussed as one element impacting the budget. In addition to insurance for employees, the county is responsible for inmate medical care, both in the jail and any hospital care. On Sept. 25, the County Commission heard a presentation from Quality Correctional Health Care. The County Commission is considering multiple options to save money on inmate health care.

One thing that may help is inmates who qualify for Medicaid using their benefits if they are in the hospital for more than 24 hours. Chilton County Sheriff John Shearon presented the Commission with an update during the meeting. Shearon said the department has started filling out the necessary paperwork.

“It may help us a little bit along the way with inmate medical, the ones that qualify,” Shearon said.

There was some good news for the county. Billy Singleton of the Airport Authority reported that the airport had recently had its largest sale of jet fuel ever — 682 gallons.

“That has become our largest revenue producer,” Singleton said.

Funds from the city of Clanton made the jet fuel station possible, Commission Chair Allen Paton said.

Also during the meeting, the Commission:

— Discussed installation of speed bumps near Isabella High School based on some concern about student safety. Public comment on the issue is welcome at the next regularly scheduled meeting.

— Heard from Cindy McGraw concerning her mobile home park on County Road 340. McGraw said she had started the project, but was later told it did not meet current regulations. McGraw said she had done what she was told to do, but had not been told she needed a preliminary plat. She was also requesting that the County Commission allow her to operate under the regulations in place when the project was started in 2015. Current regulations have added the requirement for paved roads and a storm shelter.

— Rejected bids received for gasoline and diesel for all departments. The Commission plans to rebid the item as bulk for the county, rather than by department.