County budget holding steadyPublished 3:14pm Monday, July 9, 2012
By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer
COLUMBIANA – Shelby County Finance Manager Butch Burbage gave a report on the state of the county’s budget to the County Commission in a work session after the July 9 commission meeting.
According to Burbage, the county is $2.6 million under budget on expenditures currently, and the fiscal year won’t end for three months.
“The last couple of years, we’re always had positive variances on expenditures,” he said.
While the county has seen rises in sales and use tax, the income is offset by real property taxes.
Property Tax Commissioner Don Armstrong said property taxes would be “down again this year,” with commercial properties electing to be appraised for income value rather than property value.
“There are single-family residences being built, but not much else,” he said.
Burbage said he and the commission have begun the budget process for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
County Commissioner Corley Ellis discussed the possibility of a lump sum budget for the sheriff’s department. During a March meeting, the county commission addressed the possibility of making the Shelby County Jail, Juvenile Detention Center and the county’s IT Communication Services and Maintenance Department three separate cost centers, giving each its own separate budget.
Chris Curry said he is open to the discussion process, but said there is not enough time before the end of the fiscal year, as it would “take a lot of time to properly do that.”
Curry said he believes the sheriff’s department will be under budget, excluding the event of weather catastrophe or other unforeseen events.
The sheriff’s department budget is divided primarily into a jail budget and sheriff’s office budget.
“We have $4.9 million in both budgets combined,” Capt. Ken Burchfield said. “We have about $4 million in salaries to pay, but that leaves us with a nice cushion.”
Curry said the department has made adjustments to cut costs, including parking marked patrol cars at the sheriff’s office or other specified locations instead of allowing officers to drive the cars home. The deputies must drive personal cars to pick up a patrol car for duty.
Additionally, Curry said the department is moving forward with the new radio system, which will benefit law enforcement, as well as the county government, board of education and municipalities.