A look inside the 2022-2023 Chilton County budget

Published 11:28 am Wednesday, October 12, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Chilton County Commission worked long hours the past few months in getting their 2022-2023 fiscal year budget to the point of ratification.

The 2022-2023 budget lists the total revenue for the county for the at $31,857,605, one of the highest revenue increases in county’s history. The general fund was the largest fund on the budget coming in at $15,743,109. The general fund last year was $21,859,722, and was also the largest in the 2021-2022 budget. The lower number this year is due to the county not having certain projects in this budget that it had budgeted in 2021-2022.

The commission moved the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office budget into the general fund this year for the first time, and the CCSO has a $6,250,125 budget for the year.

The road department has a $11,120,707 budget for the fiscal year, increasing from $9,156,464 from the last fiscal year. $1,906,005 was moved from the general fund to help balance the road department budget.

The county accumulated some debt over the 2021-2022 fiscal year after borrowing money in emergency situations such as the cyber-attack on their computers and repaving roads. The commission is poised to lower the total debt of the county by $2,285,377 this fiscal year.

The trade school and industrial development fund sits at $1,871,160, and that is after money was taken from the fund to help balance other portions of the budget such as Minooka Park and Higgins Ferry. $951,010 was later moved into the trade school and industrial development fund from the general fund to help offset the movement.

Other funds in the budget include Minooka Park at $343,483, and $190,457 was moved from the trade school fund to help balance the Minooka Park budget. Higgins Ferry has a fund of $143,642 in 2022-2023, and $48,642 was transferred from the trade school fund as well to help balance the budget.

The building road and bridge fund has $1,865,500 in it, and $1,421,000 was added from the general fund to add more funds to address roads in Chilton County.

The next Chilton County Commission meeting will be on Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. at the Chilton County Courthouse.

On Sept. 27 the commission passed the budget with a 4-1 vote. Commissioners Matthew Mims and Joseph Parnell were absent from that meeting, and commissioner Joe Headley voted against the budget.

Headley voted no due to the $50,000 appropriation to the Chilton County Firefighters Association being omitted from the budget. The commission looks at the appropriation on a year-to-year basis, and the association still has $30,000 left over from the appropriation last year.

“We appreciate our volunteer fireman all around,” Hardee said. “We need to make sure we cover all areas. We have helped the fire association for the last three years, and they been good stewards with it.”

The $50,000 appropriation was used for other things to benefit the firefighters of Chilton County such as help funding the P25 countywide emergency communications system. Others aspects of the budget had to be moved around to account for the county having the funds to pay for the P25 system and other new items in the 2022-2023 year. Other portions of the appropriation went toward helping the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Program with getting equipment.

Commission Chairman Jimmie Hardee said if there is an emergency that affects the county as a whole, and the fire association needs additional funds, they can come ask the commission for assistance. Resolutions to transfer line items in each fund as necessary to balance the 2022-2023 budget, and to roll over the additional funds from the 2021-2022 fiscal year to the next were passed unanimously at the Sept. 27 meeting.

“There is going to have to be some concessions made by everybody,” Parnell said at the Sept. 13 commission meeting.