Budget talks continued at a June 25 meeting of the Banks County Board of Commissioners that included a debate over funding sources.
Funding in the 2013-14 budget for some needed items was the topic of discussion that caused contention between the commissioners. The commissioners disagreed on purchasing some of the items out of the capital account instead of including it in the proposed budget.
The budget is made up of current year’s revenue collections – including property taxes, and the capital fund is money that has been or will be carried over from the previous year or years to be used for county purposes.
One item discussed by the commissioners that caused disagreement on how it would be funded, was computer hardware and software upgrades.
The total line item in the proposed budget for the upgrades is $126,289 - $16,000 for required computer upgrades at the sheriff’s office and $65,000 for Windows XP and hardware upgrades.
Commissioner Charles Turk asked, “Instead of putting in this line item … why can’t we pull this $81,000 out of money left over June 30 (2013) that would go into the capital fund?”
Turk stated this was a one-time expense that is expected to last several years.
Randy Failyer, Banks County Finance Officer, said the funding could be handled either way, but there was revenue this year to offset the expense.
In a 3-2 vote, the commissioners voted to leave the $81,000 in the proposed budget. Commissioner David Duckett made the motion to leave it in the budget and commissioners chairman Jimmy Hooper seconded the motion and commissioner Danny Maxwell also voted in favor or it. Turk and Commissioner Sammy Reece voted against the motion.
How to fund the purchase of tasers for the sheriff’s office was the second area of contention. Earlier in the budget process the $25,000 for tasers was removed as a capital expense, even though rifles and bullet proof vests were left in capital expenditures.
Again, Turk said this $25,000 expense should have been left in the capital expenditures to which Reece agreed.
The commissioners told Banks County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Shawn Wilson, who was in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, they were not questioning the need for the tasers, since the county only has a couple now, but the issue was how to pay for them.
Maxwell said, “I was thinking to me it would be more feasible to leave it in the budget and do it than to take it out of the capital.”
Hooper said, “Want to put that in the form of a motion then?”
Maxwell said he would.
“Do we have to make a motion and vote?” Reece said.
Turk said, “That’s what I don’t understand.”
Hooper then said the commissioners could get a consensus on the issue.
Hooper, Maxwell and Duckett said they supported leaving the tasers in the budget and Turk and Reece said they did not.
One item, already included in the budget, the commissioners were able to agree on was the purchase of six new vehicles for the sheriff’s office.
Reece said, “Looking at the cars they’ve got and the mileage on them, I feel like the first year we need to go with the six.”
The commissioners stated they preferred that the sheriff’s office purchased vehicles with V-6 engines when possible.
Failyer advised the commissioners he would make the few changes discussed at the meeting and move forward with the budget process. The BOC is expected to consider the proposed FY2014 budget totaling $11.99 million at the July 9 meeting and set a public hearing on the issue. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Banks County Courthouse Annex.
The proposed budget is up $243,350 – or two percent – over the $11.75 million budgeted in FY2013.
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