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By Jimmie Earls
Sun Staff Writer
At a special called meeting held Dec. 23 due to the Christmas holiday, the Washington County Fiscal Court approved both Sheriff Tommy Bartley and County Clerk Glenn Black's budgets for calendar year 2010.
First to present their budget was Bartley and deputy Melissa Knopp, who proposed a 2010 budget of $469,000.
“From the 2009 budget to the one for 2010, we have reduced the budget by about $17,000,” said Knopp. “A lot of that is due to having a better grasp of the expenses for the court security officers at the judicial center. I was able to get a better number on that cost. The salary cap is reduced as well, but everything else is about the same as the previous year.”
Washington County Judge-Executive John Settles noticed there was a $5,000 reduction of contributions from fiscal court to the sheriff's budget. He asked Knopp where that reduction would take place.
“I noticed the reduction in receipts from fiscal court and I noticed in our bills and transfers that we make two separate contributions,” he said. “Which contribution will be reduced, would that be for the deputies or something else?”
“We could reduce that,” Knopp replied. “Actually, I think the reimbursement on the FICA was what was different from last year to this year due to the salaries being different.”
Settles also asked Bartley for an update on replacing the two deputies recently arrested on marijuana trafficking.
“That would directly affect the budget, so we need to know the course of action,” Settles said.
Bartley replied, “As far as looking for replacements, it would be probably after the first of the year. We just have that money in the budget because if we hire somebody, that money has to be available.”
Settles added, “How do we handle that amount right now? That's something we subsidize on a monthly basis. If it's not being used for deputy salaries, do we need to decrease that amount?”
Knopp said that subsidized money could be used instead to pay overtime for deputies Jackie Robinson and Bill Hill.
“They're not abusing the overtime, they're just going when they have a call, we're just doing what we can on that,” Knopp said.
The sheriff's budget is handled in two separate motions — one for the budget as presented and one for the salary cap and state advancement money.
A motion was made by magistrate Bill Riney with a second by magistrate Benjamin Settles to approve the 2010 sheriff's budget. The court voted unanimously in favor with only magistrate Greg Simms absent. Magistrate Terry Tingle motioned to approve the state advancement money and salary cap with a second by Riney. The court voted unanimously in favor.
Next on the agenda was Washington County Clerk Glenn Black, who presented a proposed budget of $1,806,750 for calendar year 2010. His estimate accounts for $1,796,100 in disbursements with a book balance of $10,650.
“We're still budgeted roughly the same amount of money to turn over to the court as last year,” said Black. “The salary cap is a little higher but I don't know if that will be spent because I have one person retiring and one going from full-time to part-time. I'm not going to hire anyone at this moment. I might hire somebody part-time or somebody may come back and work part-time, but I'm not planning on filling that position full-time.”
Just like the sheriff's budget, motions were made separately on the clerk's budget as presented and on the salary cap.
Riney motioned to approve the clerk's budget with a second by magistrate Morris Sweazy. All magistrates in attendance voted unanimously to approve the 2010 budget. Tingle motioned to approve the clerk's salary cap with a second by Riney and the court again voted unanimously to approve.
The court announced that county offices will be closed Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, 2010 in observance of the New Year holiday.
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 11, 2010.