Commission to consider separate budget for county jail

By NICOLE LOGGINS/Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – At a March 12 meeting, the Shelby 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.

If the proposal for a sole lump sum for the sheriff’s office passes, the county would no longer track salary information, cut payroll checks or provide human resource support for the three operations. The county would relinquish all budget responsibility to the sheriff and provide a lump sum budget to use as the sheriff’s office sees fit.

“We won’t be the only county that gives a lump sum, but we may be the only county who gives them all administrative responsibilities,” said Burbage.

Commissioner Lindsey Allison asked for a report from the county attorneys concerning the county’s liabilities and responsibilities if the budget changes happen.

“This is a huge responsibility (for the sheriff’s office),” Allison said.

Burbage said the county has the budget numbers for the three cost centers in their system and ready to be put into effect.

“A resolution will be put in to adopt the budgets on March 26, 14 days from now, and they would be effective April 1,” said Burbage.

The commission also reviewed and discussed the county’s year-to-date financial budget.

The county has used 0.5 percent of the total $30 million budget for the year so far, said Finance Manager Butch Burbage.

“With the economic times we’re in, we have to keep a very close eye on the budget,” said Commission Chairman Corley Ellis. “We are where we thought we would be. We hope the economic downturn is starting to let up. I’m happy with today’s report.”

The commission also unanimously agreed to consider a proposed change to the alcohol and beverage license process. Instead of having two readings in two different county commission sessions, Commissioner Rick Shepherd proposed the process become a one-step process.

“It will save the staff a lot of valuable time. I support (Shepherd’s) recommendation.” said Ray Hamilton, Department of Development Services manager.

County Manager Alex Dudchock said the change is “wonderful” and would give the board members the responsibility of getting “comfortable” with the decision to approve or deny an alcohol and beverage license for particular businesses in their districts.