Commissioners Continue 2010 Budget Talks
The Fulton County commissioners are slated to meet later this week and again next Monday to resume their discussions on 2010 budget expenditures.
Requests, according to reports from the commissioners and the county business manager, are continuing to filter in for final consideration by commissioners Bonnie Mellott Keefer, David Hoover II and Craig Cutchall. Among those to be received in the next week or so is a financial request from the Fulton County Conservation District, which would like to sit down with the commissioners prior to any cuts being made.
In looking at a request from the office of Magisterial District Judge Carol Jean Johnson, business manager Tim Stanton questioned if the overall costs for the proposed move into the Needmore Firehall by Johnson and her office staff should include courtroom expenditures such as a new bench.
Keefer stated those expenses are not included in the county’s budget costs, but she was not sure what the fire company had planned in its renovations. It was decided the county’s maintenance department could handle moving the judge’s furniture and various equipment into the new office, but moving of the technology related equipment should be overseen by the county technology director.
Reviewing the proposed budget for the Fulton County Law Library, which is reportedly doubled from current 2009 figures, it was suggested to take a hard look at inventory and necessary subscriptions. On the heels of the discussion on the law library, Stanton also shared with the commissioners the Fulton County Library has upped its request for funding by $5,000 to a total of $20,000. Stanton noted the commissioners have increased the library’s funding “a little bit” over the years.
Stanton further indicated library officials have also submitted a copy of what appears to be a balanced budget with their request. A balanced budget would be hard to achieve for Fulton County in 2010, Stanton added, without having to raise millage rates.
Hoover said the county helped the library with its renovation project through the administrative services of county projects coordinator Karen Hann. As a result, Hoover said, the commissioners should hold the line on library funding.
Stanton also announced a proposed financial request has also been received from the office of Fulton County Public Defender Tamela Bard. The request includes a raise in monthly office rental from $600 to $1,200. The business manager stated the justification for doubling the rent stems from a wish to recoup one-third of the overall cost of employing a secretary.
The commissioners agreed to meet with Bard to review the findings and also decided to refrain from reducing requests until all department budgets have been received.
Stanton proposed rewriting a memorandum of understanding with the Area Agency on Aging. The agency occupied one-quarter of the Neighborhood Service Center facility and receives free occupancy. It does, however, pay a $300 custodial fee as well as its electric bill.
Stanton said fuel costs should also be considered in the future. The entire building annually uses an estimated 2,000 gallons, which equates to 500 gallons for the Area Agency on Aging based on its occupancy. The board agreed the new memorandum of understanding effective January 1 should include an overall cost of at least $600 when considering maintenance, electric and fuel oil costs.
Commissioner Keefer noted Area Agency on Aging Executive Director Alan Smith does not expect the county to subsidize their expenses. In addition, Keefer said the county has paid more than its fair share for the agency and also routinely provides it with human service development funds.
The issue was tabled for Thursday, October 22, when accurate figures regarding electrical expenditures could be shared with the commissioners.
Newest commissioner Cutchall was appointed to serve on various boards, including the Franklin/Fulton County Drug and Alcohol Board, Pandemic Planning, Stop Grant Committee and Tuscarora Managed Care Alliance.