WILLIAMSON – The strain the stagnant economy has had on the county budget was made apparent during Tuesday’s meeting of the Mingo County Commission as the county struggles during the final quarter of the current fiscal year on a limited budget as projected tax revenues continue to fall below expectations.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Sheriff James Smith approached the commission requesting an in- house budget revision of $16,000. “I want to move some money around. I have $8,000 left in salary I want to move to materials and supplies and I had $8,000 left in my sheriff’s salary that I wanted to move into law enforcement training,” Smith said.
A lengthy discussion followed, with Mingo County Finance Supervisor Tina Lockard, explaining that when the budget was set, the requested money was allotted to be in his funds. However, due to insufficient revenue collections, the projected amount does not reflect the current money that is available. Lockard also explained that the county was operating on a lean budget in an effort to avoid dipping into the county rainy day funds in the final months of the current fiscal year.
“I will tell you this; I need probably $400,000 to $500,000 thousand dollars just to clear out the fiscal year with the current expenses. I know that April is a good (tax) collection month but it slacks off in May and it gets even thinner in June. I am trying to keep from having to get in to the rainy day fund,” Lockard said.
Commissioner Greg “Hootie” Smith stated, “Sherriff is there any way that you can make it through this budget without this? The only reason we say that is because our cash flow is so low.”
Smith suggested that perhaps the commission could compromise and approve less than the requested amount to be moved to fund training and supplies.
The discussion continued with commission and the sheriff working toward an agreement that would allow the sheriff the funding needed for required officer training and department supplies.
After the discussion, a motion was made to approve a budget revision of $6,000 which will be split for sheriff department materials and supplies and law enforcement training.
The next regular meeting of the Mingo County Commission will be held Wednesday, May 1, 2017 in room 136 of the Mingo County Courthouse at 9 a.m.
Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.