Shelby County Fiscal Court: County approves budgets for sheriff, clerk

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Amounts are a bit lower than last year

By Lisa King

The Shelby County Fiscal Court approved Tuesday the 2014 budgets for the sheriff and county clerk's offices, with little change from last year's budgets.

Both departments showed a slight decrease in their planned expenses.

County Clerk Sue Carole Perry's office will spend $10,017,805, which is about 4.5 percent – or $900,000 – lower than 2013. The revenue from the county clerk’s office comes from license-plate renewals, fees for deed transfers and delinquent taxes.

Sheriff Mike Armstrong's 2014 budget is $1,495,800, compared to $1,497,720 in 2013, with revenue from his office coming from a percentage of the property taxes it collects. Armstrong did budget a 3 percent raise for his deputies and office staff.

These offices operate on a calendar-year budget, although magistrates budget expenses in June for a fiscal year. Magistrates project the total amounts for these.

“Overall, they are down a bit in receipts and expenditures,” Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger said. “Maybe that is a sign the economy is a little better.”

He added that one example is that the sheriff’s office did not serve as many civil papers in 2013 and revenue from that service was down by nearly half, from $90,000 to $50,000.

Magistrate Michael Riggs expressed satisfaction with the two budgets and with the sheriff’s recent state audit results.

“I just want to recognize the sheriff for having a perfect audit,” he said. “To handle as much money as he does, that’s a real accomplishment.”

"I put three percent in there just to cover what they [magistrates] may give [in fiscal 2014-15]," Armstrong said.

Perry said she did not include a salary increase for her office, with employees’ having received a raise last year.

Magistrates also approved Armstrong's annual bonds and advancement loan of $300,000, the amount available to sheriffs to operate their offices, an option set by state law. Armstrong said he never uses that entire amount, however, and that he refunds the unused portion when he pays the loan back at the end of the year.

"That's what I do every year," he said. "I need to get money from them to operate, and I pay it back interest-free at the end of the year. It's the way we've done it for thirty years. Any sheriff's office across the state can get that [$300,000]. It's interest-free, and you pay it back at the end of the year, because most of your money comes in at the end of the year when you collect taxes."

Magistrates also approved Armstrong's annual revenue bond of $1.5 million to be increased to $18 million in October 2014, also standard procedure.

"When I start collecting taxes in October, they will increase that to eighteen million, because I have to have a bond that will cover any deposits I have," he said.


Also at the meeting, magistrates:

§       Approved giving $15,000 to the Shelbyville Horse Show,. District 1 Magistrate Hubie Pollett said he asked horse show officials to request the money early this time. “In August, the budget is tighter, and it’s just easier to do it now because we have all our tax money in,” he said. “This way, they’ll have it when they need it.”

§       Accepted budgets for West Shelby Water and the Henry County Water districts, as required by state law.

§       Appointed the following personnel to the following boards: Bill Eggen to U.S. 60 Water District; Rob Wilson to Triple S Board of Adjustments and Appeals; Larry Stewart to Triple S Planning and Zoning Commission; Judy Best and Tom Flowers to Shelby County Extension Board; Margo Whisman to Shelby County Parks and Recreation Commission;  and Charles Clifton and Vivian Overall to Shelby County Public Library Board.

§       Set a date of 8 a.m. Monday at Stratton Center for a special meeting for a second reading of the county's alcohol beverage control ordinance. The ordinance is being revised to accommodate new state law.