Craighead County officials renew 2016 budget debate with updated revenue estimate

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 153 views 

Revenue figures for the 2016 Craighead County budget are in and justices now must try figure out ways to make the numbers match. The Craighead County Budget Committee met Monday (Nov. 23) to continue deliberations on the budget, which takes effect Jan. 1.

“Lock the door until we find another $90,000,” Budget Chairman Ken Stacks said as the debate continued at the Craighead County Courthouse Annex.

Justices have met twice in recent weeks to hammer out details on the budget. The expenses were discussed at the first two meetings, but the meeting Monday provided clues on how to pay for county services. Committee members looked at figures from Treasurer Terry McNatt and county finance officer Al Haines on the budget.

McNatt said he wanted to take a conservative approach in looking at revenues because of reductions in state turnback money and collections of delinquent property taxes.

Under the proposed budget, there is a total of $16.116 million available for possible spending in 2016. The amount includes $14.241 million (90% of the budget, which can be spent) and $1.875 million in carryover money from previous years. There is $15.988 million budgeted for 2016, with $128,963 set aside in unappropriated funding, under the proposal.

There was a lot of back and forth on the revenue side of the equation, ranging from inmate healthcare to housing state inmates in the county jail. County Clerk Kade Holliday said while the discussion centered around ways to stretch funding, the county was not in any major predicament.

“We have around $3 million in the road budget that is unencumbered,” Holliday said, noting the money can be spent during an emergency.

There was some discussion by Sheriff Marty Boyd and committee members on commissary funding. At its Nov. 18 meeting, justices received word that $109,000 would be lost from the county general fund because of a new state law. The law, Act 741 of 2015, allows funding from commissary to be split 80/20, with county general getting 80% and 20% going to the communications equipment fund for the office.

On Jan. 1, all of the money will go toward commissary funding, Boyd said. Boyd said the $109,000 figure was a misnomer, with the true amount being about $75,000 after reductions. Boyd said he would like to spend $40,000 to $45,000 next year on buying body cameras and bullet proof vests for deputies.

The committee will meet at 4 pm (Dec. 1) at the courthouse annex to finalize the budget.