County hears from jail, sheriff’s office for FY25 budget

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2024

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In the first round of budget meetings, on June 17, the Chambers County Commission heard proposed budgets from various county department heads. The county is in the initial stages of forming the FY2025 budget.

Both the jail and sheriff’s office presented at the meeting. Justin Burns, the Jail Administrator, did not have the total budgeted amount but said the jail only needs two items to be added to next year’s budget. The jail is requesting to purchase a van for roughly $40,000 to be used for prisoner transportation. Burns also asked for $5,000 to be added for staff training.

The Chambers County Development Authority asked for the same amount of funding from last year at $85,000. The CCDA director, Chris Busby, said the authority is still finalizing the Economic Development fund (106 fund) this year. The fund goes to economic development efforts in the county, including the CCDA. Busby said the amount of funding could change depending on various projects and initiatives the authority has on the docket.

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Busby expressed concern for the department’s funding source through the tobacco tax revenue.

“Long-term funding is a big priority for us and tobacco tax, it’s probably not the most sustainable form of revenue going forward just based upon cultural trends,” Busby said.

Josh Harvill’s department will also be getting some funding from the Economic Development Fund. The initial number for the Highway Department funding from the 106 is $620,500, however, that number could change before the budget is finalized.

From the general fund, Harvill asked for the same amount given last year, at $296,000. The appropriated fund from the Holcomb Bridge and Road fund is not yet finalized but Harvill said could be anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000. The request will be “significantly” less than last year’s amount. Lastly, the Highway Department requested funds from the Alabama Trust Fund in the amount of $133,500, the same as from last year.

Mike Parrish, Chief Deputy of the Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), presented his office’s budget requests, however, he had not calculated the total budget at the time of the meeting. Parrish said this year’s budget would see a significant increase in salaries. The CCSO added four deputies to the payroll last year. 

“We have four more deputies on the road and more vehicles on the road, [and] some increases in fuel,” Parrish said.

The deputy added that they have subtracted $20,000 out of their maintenance budget due to the fact the majority of the police vehicles were newer models.

An additional salary is being added for a new investigator. The Multi-Jurisdiction Drug Task Force has asked all agencies in the task force to hire an additional investigator. Parrish also asked for $50,000 for two vehicles to be used by the office’s paper, or process, servers.

Beth Abney, the revenue commissioner, asked for an increase in funding to be used for a new operating system her department needs. While the system is the largest amount asked by Abney, at $150,000, she also requested two of her employees be given merit-based raises and her budget to be adjusted for the rising cost of postage.

Abney said she will have some extra left over from this year’s budget that can lower the dollar amount for the FY25 budget. All in all, the revenue commission will increase by around $85,000 from the previous year.

Probate Judge Paul Story did not have numbers at the time of the meeting. However, he said the main costs would be for extra storage.