March 15, 2017 Edition

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Budget committee meets,
county financials reviewed

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

With a good beginning balance for 2017, the Lawrence County budget committee looked over the financials for the county Thursday afternoon.

While gathered, the committee focused on three areas in the budget.

Jail Maintenance

The Jail Maintenance Fund, collected through a one-eighth-cent sales tax passed by voters in late 2015, has about $160,000 in it. Treasurer Marilyn Crafton said the fund collects between $16,000 and $17,000 a month. "That won't be enough to run the new jail," she said.

County Judge John Thomison said he hopes the funds collected while the jail is being built will carry over until they can house some state inmates and get some additional funding that way.

Justice Alex Latham said that state inmates are not a reliable revenue source, which was agreed upon by the rest of the committee. No plans for additional funding was discussed, but the committee did note that there is a little excess in the County Jail Fund, which pays part-time jailers.

E-911

The committee noted a concern with the E-911 Fund as it uses more than it receives. The fund is spending more than twice as much as it's receiving, showing February figures of $29,000 spent and $13,000 received.

"It won't take long to eat up this balance at that rate," Latham said.

Related concerns about the tower behind the courthouse were brought up by Thomison. He said it would need some maintenance soon to avoid risk of collapse.

The committee also discussed equipment the county has on other cell towers that may need work, as well as the ability to raise some towers for better reception.

Health Insurance

County Clerk Tina Stowers presented some figures on county health insurance, showing a quote representing a 12.4-present increase. She also showed some options with lower increases that would have a higher deductable on employees.

"We don't want to put that kind of a deductable on the employees," Justice Junior Briner said.

Stowers said she is still getting quotes, but they will have to decide by May 1.

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