Commission approves budget with first raise in five years

Published 5:01 pm Wednesday, September 25, 2013

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

The Lowndes County Commission approved an $8.4 million budget Monday night that Commission Administrator Jackie Thomas said includes the first raise for full-time employees in five years and which she called “one the better budgets” that she’s had.

Thomas, who has been with the county for 31 years, said the budget includes a raise of 2.5 percent across the board raise for about 100 full-time employees, as well as a one-time $500 increase in pay.

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Commissioner Carnell McAlpine made a $9,000 discretionary fund allocation to Central High School for its athletic and band programs.

The commission approved an agreement with the state Department of Transportation for the resurfacing of Lowndes County Roads 2 and 13, as well as approved bids for County Highway Department supplies.

And the commission approved County Attorney Hank Sanders to take whatever legal action necessary to collect for storm damages to the Hayneville Plaza.

The commission approved a 2013-2014 budget with revenues of $8,450,920 and expenditures of $8,341,298 leaving a balance of $109,622.

Thomas said the budget does include the funds for County Roads 2 and 13.
She also said the commission absorbed a 5 percent cost increase for employee insurance.

She said with the approval of the budget, “We’re just hoping for better things for the future.”

McAlpine said he made the allocation to Central High because the Lowndes County Board of Education saw its budget decreased by about $6 million from the previous year.

He said, “The Central High School athletic program needs some help. I’m hoping they (Central High) will take that $9,000 and buy some new equipment for the football players, and maybe they will win some games.”

Central High Principal Peggy Grant called the allocation “generous and unexpected” and “something our athletic department can really use.”
She said the allocation would be used to promote athletic programs and students at Central High.

Grant said the funds would also help with transportation when the band travels to events.

McAlpine and Commissioner Dickson Farrior both said the Hayneville Plaza matter Sanders was authorized to take legal action on has to do with collecting on insurance for the recent storm damage.

County Engineer David Butts said the project estimate for Lowndes County Roads 2 and 13 of which the county will pay 20 percent (about $301,000) is about $1.5 million.

The commission approved bids for Highway Department supplies recommended by the Butts with the exception of tires and pipe, which he said he would re bid.

In other matters, the commission approved a consent agenda including:
An amendment to the appraisal budget; a payment of $19,000 for Wildland Services for an ADECA project regarding wetlands; a contract with S & W for maintenance and software for the tax assessor, tax collector and appraisal offices;

Approved an appropriation to Ark of Love for $1,000, to Central High School for $9,000, to the Braggs Better Community Organization for $1,000, to Life Changing Community Outreach of $500 and a rental contract at the Hayneville Plaza for Parks Pharmacy.

The commission also approved a contract between the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and cities for the feeding of inmates.

And the commission appointed Willease Cabble, James Chamblis and Celeste Crenshaw to the Human Resources Board.