County’s $79 million budget up for discussion tomorrow night

Tue, 06/10/2008 - 3:35pm
By: John Thompson

“This has been one of the most difficult years I can remember for creating a budget.”

Those comments by interim Fayette County Administrator Jack Krakeel express the sentiments of many of the county’s government leaders during this budget cycle.

This year’s general fund budget is $48.1 million, and Krakeel said the county would maintain the same millage rate when hearings occur in August.

The total $79.5 million budget also includes $14 million in special revenue funds, $13.3 million for the water system, $1.6 million in capital projects and $1.3 million in vehicle replacement funds.

“This budget does not add any new positions and keeps any open positions frozen,” said Krakeel.

Additionally, the budget does not include a cost of living increase because of the recently completed salary study and income adjustment for the county’s 700 employees.

“Our employees are now being paid market value,” he added.

In December, Mark Knowles, who helped conduct the study, said the county could end up spending $3.9 million in salary raises if it wanted to be slightly ahead of the market. The county is phasing in the results of the study over three years, with the bulk occurring this year. Krakeel added that $300,000 would occur in the 2010 budget year.

Krakeel also pointed out the county currently has nearly 20 vacancies, and if those positions are filled, it would cost the county an additional $1.1 million.

The county will hold a public hearing on the budget tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Fayette County Administrative Complex.

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Submitted by allin on Wed, 06/11/2008 - 10:50am.

Suggestion to the County Commission, a little out of the box and I'm not sure of the legal ramifications? The Fayette County jail is filled with able body men and women receiving free benefits from the county taxpayers i.e. food, air condition lodging, TV .. etc etc. Let's put them to work cutting the county grass, digging trenches, setting sign poles and changing light bulbs - the county could reallocate the current employees to some of county vacancies.

The County jail residents are already on the county payroll let's make them earn their keep. Maybe the message will get out - real fast - that Fayette County is not the place to do the crime or time. Just a thought.

The short fall in the county budget is in the infant stages, wait until the impact of fuel costs hits the county health departments (due to more citizens requiring assistance), sheriff department, maintenance and emergency services.

Submitted by thenatural on Tue, 06/10/2008 - 6:18pm.

The millage rate will stay the same because the cost of the defined benefit plan and the raises for county employees prevent any hope of a property tax rollback as was the former custom.

It bothers me that, when the economy is slumping and revenues are declining, the county commission grants a raise that puts the employees AHEAD of the regional average. It is not the employees that I am complaining about. It is the irresponsible way that the commission is spending our tax dollars.

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