County approves $8.8 million budget with 5 percent raise

Published 4:33 pm Monday, September 14, 2015

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
The Lowndes County Commission approved an $8.8 million total 2015-16 budget Monday, Sept. 14, including a 5 percent across the board pay raise for about 90 county employees and what has been called the first true reserve amounting to about $400,000 in about 33 years.
In addition, Commission Administrator Jackie Thomas said the budget includes the county paying the increase in single and family insurance premiums for county employees and the lease/purchase of five sheriff’s office vehicles.
Commissioner Dickson Farrior said of the budget, “I think it shows the work of the commission.”
Calling it an example of “fiscal responsibility,” Farrior said, “You’ve got a commission that’s trying to look out for the interest of the people in the county.”
He said, “We’ve got an engineer and an administrator that works with us. Everybody is working together and it’s having some good results.”
Commission Administrator Jackie Thomas said it was the first true reserve since she has been with the county for about 33 years in all.
Farrior said he has served on the commission for about 32 years.
Farrior also said the commission is also working to get 911 personnel a better salary.
He said, “They’re very important to the county. You know if you’ve got a call, you want a competent person on the end of that 911 call, and we’ve got some good people. And we want to keep them and have a good service for the county.”
The total 2015-2016 budget includes revenues of $8,819,604.67 and expenses of $8,566,855.67. Included is a General Fund budget with $4,207,355 in revenues and $4,505,081 in expenses.
Thomas told The Lowndes Signal that raise per county employees will range from $700 to $1,000.
Commissioner Joseph Barganier said he would like to extend the same raise to retired employees and supernumeraries, which Thomas said can be done later by separate resolution.
The commission went into executive session on what Commission Chairman Robert Harris called an “economic development proposal,” but took no action on the matter.
In other action the commission:
*Approved the Next Generation bid of $243,903.40 for E911 equipment.
*Approved making County Highway 79 the next federal aid project.
*Approved the consent agenda which included: Minutes from July and August meetings, appropriations to the Organized Community Action Program of $500, to Life Changing Outreach of $950, to Hayneville Library of $500, a contract with the Lowndes County Board of Education for deputies during the 2016 school year, an amendment of the 2015 budget, an agreement with the Dallas County Juvenile Detention Center and a contact with mapper Daniel Deckard.

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