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Shelby County Fiscal Court: Budget sees 2 percent increase for 2018-19

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Includes 3 percent raise for all employees

By Glen Jennings

Shelby County Fiscal Court heard the first reading of the 2018-2019 budget at its regular meeting on May 15. The county’s proposed budget allocates a total of $22,158,877.34 for use. This represents a two percent increase from last year’s budget.

“Some of the issues we had to deal with in this budget was our pension costs,” Ison said. “It was very difficult to get exact figures on trying to put this together and to try to get it set up so that we would be in a five-year cycle.”

Pension costs this year have increased by nearly $1.26 million to accommodate changes to the state pension law.

 

“Along with that, the road fund by the state was reduced $109,306.46,” Ison said.

 

The budget also includes a three percent raise for all county employees to keep up with cost of living expenses.

 

“This is for all employees, part time and full time,” Ison said. “As I said in my previous budget, our part-time people have the price of a loaf of bread the same as our full time.”

 

Ison said that to keep the budget balanced, the county looked for ways it could cut costs.

 

“We cut our phone service costs by $27,200 through looking at the service and looking at state contracts,” Ison said. “We reduced our utilities by $11,900.”

 

The county has also sold $55,000 worth of surplus vehicles, reducing maintenance costs.

 

“None of our services are being impacted with any of these cuts,” Ison said.

 

The first reading passed on a motion by Magistrate Michael Riggs and a second by Magistrate Hubert Pollett.

 

Wireless devices in right-of-ways

 

The court passed an ordinance allowing wireless companies to build small wireless devices in the county right-of-way.

 

Ison noted the ordinance is a step toward one of the county’s longtime goals, though it does not end the project.

 

“It’s really a starting point and it’s hopefully a point that’s going to take us into the future,” he said. “We will be able to have businesses come in here and start the process as we go.

 

Ison also thanked Magistrate Tony Carriss for his work on the ordinance.

 

The ordinance passed unanimously on a motion from Magistrate Michael Riggs and a second from Pollett.

 

 

 

Jewish Hospital grant

 

The court voted to hold about $50,000 of grant money intended for Jewish Hospital due to the facility’s pending sale.

 

A previous administration approved a $100,000 grant for the hospital to be paid over a four-year period but during the third year talks about the hospital’s sale began.

 

“We have held up giving that grant because we did not feel that we could control that money would be going into the hospital and not into the seller’s pocket,” Ison said.

 

Ison added that he brought it before the court so other magistrates would have the chance to decide what action to take about the money.

 

Riggs said he agreed that giving the money fully was a risky idea.

 

“We can’t control what they’re going to do with it,” he said. “We voted on it based on a set of understandings and stipulations that are now basically gone.”

 

The court then unanimously approved a motion by Riggs to hold the money until the court had a clearer idea of the hospital’s future.

 

During the meeting, the court also:

 

§  Voted to hire Cathryn Edwards and Bradley Gold as full time EMTs with an annual salary of $32,677.76.

§  Acknowledged Jerrett Barnes’ hiring as a part time litter abatement technician and laborer for $11 an hour.

§  Updated job descriptions for the county judge’s receptionist, county judge’s administrative assistant, finance clerk, finance officer and treasurer.

§  Voted to solicit bids for rock, paver patching and striping.

§  Approved the April 2018 financial statements.

§  Approved budget and cash transfers and invoices.