Warren County commissioners made several cuts to the budget for fiscal year 2016-17 after taking a look at the bottom line.
Budget and Finance Committee members Terry Bell, chair, Carl E. Bouldin, Ken Martin, Michael Martin and Diane Starkey met Thursday for a review of the consolidated budget after meeting on Tuesday and approving departmental budgets.
Finance Department director Linda Hillis presented the information, and Bell says it isn’t good news.
“If we want to give everyone a 50-cent-an-hour raise, we would be down to $131,000 fund balance,” said Bell. “The state is recommending we have a $1.258 million balance or we have to do a cash flow statement every month. If we can get about $700,000, I think we would be alright. Making sure we can make payroll is the main thing.”
The amount, said Hillis, is one month of the county’s total expenditures and what the state says the county should have in its fund balance. Payroll alone is approximately $650,000 a month.
Among the cuts made to the overall county budget:
• Ambulance Service – approximately $130,460
• Sanitation Department – approximately $65,230
• Warren County Animal Control and Adoption Center – $50,000 removed for building improvements
• Trustee’s Office – “Other supplies and materials” was reduced from $10,500 to $2,500
• Warren County Memorial Airport – Shed cost of $94,000.
Also removed was a $6,202 salary increase for the director of the Codes Department. According to Bell, the committee did not realize the director had not reached his one-year anniversary in his employment with the county. When he receives one year in September 2016, he will receive a 50-cent salary increase.
The budget had included a donation of $150,000 to the Industrial Development Board because that amount was given last year. Committee members unanimously agreed Thursday night to reduce that amount to $50,000 – increasing the county’s fund balance by $100,000.
Some increases were made:
• Finance Department budget – Warren County Executive Herschel Wells requested a $2,000 salary increase for the director. Committee members unanimously approved it.
• Warren County Sheriff’s Department went over on its Food Budget for fiscal year 2015-16. It had $400,000 and it is currently at $428,000 with more than a month to go before the end of the fiscal year. Committee members unanimously approved increasing the food budget to $450,000.
• Ambulance Service – Committee members unanimously approved a $7,000 salary increase for the director.
The county is considering a $7.5 million expansion at Warren County Jail. Within the budget is $350,000 for architectural services. Committee members unanimously approved transferring 6 cents in property taxes (approximately $391,380) from debt service and establishing a line item for “Architectural Services” for that expense.
Not within the budget at this time is debt service on $7.5 million. According to Hillis, the debt service on 15-year bond issue of $7.5 million will be approximately $550,000 a year.
Hillis will recalculate the budget with the above changes. A Budget and Finance Committee meeting is scheduled for June 28 at 5 p.m. for a follow-up review of the consolidated budget.