Budget should be in place by next week

Published 10:35 am Friday, December 6, 2013

At next week’s Lawrence County Commissioners meeting, the county should have a budget.

That was the prediction of Commissioner Les Boggs at this Thursday’s commission meeting.

“We should have a vote on the budget a week from today,” he said.

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After the meeting Boggs declined to give any specifics of what the three commissioners have agreed to so far.

“We are still working out the details,” he said. “It could change daily.”

Each commissioner develops his own budget and then confers with his colleagues to debate and negotiate specifics, the commissioner said.

“We might meet or talk about it a couple days before the vote,” Boggs said. “So far every year we have been able to agree on the budget, compromise on this and that.”

First added in are the fixed expenses, such as salaries and retirement funds.

“We have our court orders to honor insurance, which has increased,” he said. “We consider first the things that can’t change.”

For 2014, the commissioners have $14,524,300 to turn into a budget. That figure is the total certification of all segments of the general fund including carryover the budget commission approved last month.

Commission President Bill Pratt said, in general, officeholders submitted budgets that were 10 percent more than last year.

“My budget should protect anyone from being laid off throughout the county,” he said. “It will allow for some increase.”

A potential sticking point between the two men could revolve around whether the EMS gets an additional $300,000 to its current $1 million budget from the general fund.

Earlier this year Boggs promised the EMS the extra funding.

“I have built-in an increase of funds to the EMS of 8.7 percent,” Pratt said. “It is based on their carryover and supplements they would be given”

That would give the EMS $118,000 more than what they began with this year.

Besides funds from the county EMS gets money from each run. Currently the agency has a cash balance of $620,051.

“We are looking over the numbers and crunching them,” Boggs said. “The budget may change two or three more times before the final vote is taken. We are working the best we can and put our heads together to compromise. Hopefully we will get one budget that everyone can live with.”

In other action the commission:

• Approved a special use permit for the Chesapeake Little League for a 5K race/walk;

• Appointed Pratt to the Ohio Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council;

• Hired Amanda Harrison as part-time paramedic for the county EMS;

• Elevated Daniel Heuchert from part-time to full-time paramedic;

• Terminated Ryan Thompson from the EMS;

• Received the weekly dog warden report where no dogs were destroyed, eight were adopted or went to rescue and one was redeemed by its owner. That week there were 46 dogs in custody.