County budget passes, but not unanimously

Five out of seven Chilton County Commissioners voted in favor of the 2010-2011 budget.

Chairman Tim Mims, vice chairman Allen Caton, Bobby Agee, Greg Moore and Heedy Hayes all approved of the budget, which includes level funding for all county departments and $5.3 million in the general fund.

Commissioner Joe Headley voted against the measure, and Commissioner Red Turnipseed abstained, making the vote 5-1-1.

“I feel like there wasn’t enough money put in the budget for the Road Department,” Headley said in a phone interview.

Aside from the amount of money budgeted for road repair, Headley said, everything looked “pretty fine.”

As projected, revenues are down by as much as $152,000 for the Sheriff’s Department and $230,000 for the Road Department. County Commission Administrator Vanessa Hendrick said the 3-R gasoline tax, which goes to the Road

Department, dropped from $1.6 million in revenue in 2008 to $769,000 in 2009 and continues to decrease steadily.

In order to meet level funding in the two departments, more money had to come out of the general fund, Hendrick said.

One exception to the level funding was that health insurance costs increased by about 3.5 percent, and there were also increases in workers’ compensation.

Caton said he hopes more money will come in than what was projected for county departments.

“Right now, I don’t know of any wasteful spending,” he said. “This county is operating within their means. We’re not going into debt; we’re not going out to borrow money to build a building. We did borrow some money four years ago to pave some roads, but it had to be done.”

Caton wanted to thank all department heads for their cooperation with the budget.

“We could not have passed this budget if it had not been for Bobby Martin, Tim Little, Tony (Wearren), the sheriff, Rex Cleckler and all of the department heads,” he said.

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