Don Cason, Director of the Chamber of Commerce, stated that staffing could be impacted if the cuts were deeper. Committee Member
Barreiro stated that all of the charities that were previously cut performed great service to Jefferson County, and that the Chamber should be self reliant. She said that the funding level from the public funds was out of balance with the level that other counties fund their Chambers. Committee Member Tucker stated that there needs to be a weaning process from tax dollars to a more self reliant approach to funding. Budget Committee Member Beeler made a motion to accept the $20,000 reduction in funding that was offered by the Chamber and use the $20,000 to fund part of the Jefferson County commitment to EDOT- which is a arm of the Chamber of Commerce. $20,000 will be taken from the EDOT funding and put into the General Fund. Basically, resulting in the county saving $20,000. The motion was 2nd by Mills and passed ( Barriero No).
The Budget Committee discussed the funding for the E-911/EMA/EMS & Ambulance combination building. Director of Finance Helton stated that Jefferson County has a healthy Fund Balance and several options to fund the 1.6 million that will be left on the new facility. He informed the committee that they will most likely have to tap into the Fund Balance for the $500,000 needed to balance the budget, so if they decide to use the Fund Balance to pay for the new combination facility the total from the Fund Balance would be 2.1 million dollars. Other options include borrowing money from trustee at a little more than 1% interest or waiting to combine any other projects and taking out a note. Committee Member Solomon made the motion to borrow the 1.6 million needed for the new combination facility from the trustee at + 1% interest. The motion was 2nd by Estes. Beeler made a high priority motion to postpone until they had a more complete look at the budget and Tucker 2nd. The motion to postpone passed with Solomon and Estes voting no.
The Sanitation Department requested a used dozier although bids were taken on a new dozier. The request came as a effort to save money , as the cost of a new dozier is significant. Committee Member Tucker made a motion to take the cost of a used dozier and the construction of phase 1 of the new cell from Capitol Projects. Committee Member Turner 2nd . Committee Member Solomon made a motion to postpone funding and was 2nd by Mills. The motion passed unanimously. However, the committee unanimously agreed to fund the used dozier.
In a motion by Turner and 2nd by Estes the committee voted to fund the $175,839 request of the Jefferson County Sheriff for 4 employees to fill one around the clock position at the Workhouse. The Sheriff stated that the position was needed for safety reasons.
The Jefferson County Department of Education presented their budget for the 2011-2012 year to the Budget Committee. Director of School Edmonds requested that 1.6 million + , which is in excess of last years local maintenance of effort , be taken from the school systemís fund balance. Committee Member Tucker stated that he was concerned that if the committee approves the budget as presented, that it will drastically effect next years tax rate, as all approved reoccurring items will become maintenance of effort and therefore the Counties responsibility. Budget Committee Chairman Scarlett said that the county would be responsible for any items that would be consider maintenance of effort. He requested that the Department of Education inquire if there is a waiver for a $600,000 state mandated contribution to retirement fund to keep it in good standing. A waiver would allow the $600,000 to not be considered maintenance of effort, therefore not increasing the yearly funding obligation to the Department of Education. The committee discussed that amendments could be made to the budget if necessary , as the DOE was requesting them out of Fund Balance. If no amendments are needed then it will not increase the yearly obligation to the DOE. The 1.6 million dollar increase could result in a significant tax increase next year, when the money is still obligated to be paid by the county, yet not coming out of the Department of Education Fund Balance. Committee Member Tucker made the motion to fund the Department of Education at the same level as last year-no increase to the maintenance of effort-including the state mandated salary increase, with the local portion of the funding ( $97,830) coming from the DOE Fund Balance. All else will be handled with Amendments, as needed.
Barreiro 2nd and motion failed by a small margin. Committee Member Beeler echoed Tuckers motion adding the $55,000 Trane payment ( approved during a previous meeting). Motion was 2nd by Tucker and passed with Turner, Estes and Solomon voting no.
The Budget Committee unanimously approved several budget amendments that had no impact on Fund Balance.
The meeting was Adjourned.