Raising money and spending money at the County Courthouse

Published 8:07 am Tuesday, February 5, 2019

As part of the final discussions during the Financial Management Committee’s meeting at 8:30 a.m. Monday, County Mayor Russell Barnett petitioned the committee for funds for a work vehicle.

“I found a nice 2012 Ford Explorer for about $17,000,” Barnett said.

County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford said the vehicle is important for Barnett’s position as county mayor.

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“Our mayor represents the county wherever he goes,” Lunceford said.

The proposal brought with it a discussion of how much money they should propose the Budget Committee to allocate for the purchase, as well as whether Barnett would need to abstain from the vote in the first place.

Ultimately, Barnett and Lunceford said they wanted to ask the Budget Committee to allocate between $35,000 and $40,000 on a work vehicle.

Commissioner Ginger Holdren disagreed with the mayor over the price range.

“I do not want to spend that much on a vehicle,” Holdren said.

She said the county is already running at a slight deficit this year, and a proposal like this would further strain other departments’ resources.

“Departments will have to cut their budgets and move things around,” she said.

The committee decided Barnett did not have to abstain from the decision due to the lack of other committee members to create an odd number of votes, and the committee voted to forward the proposal to the Budget Committee, who will host their next meeting on Monday, Feb. 11.

Holdren also held a roundtable discussion about ways to increase county revenue. She described a list of “small” ideas including installing quarter press machines at state parks and other locations, as well as utilizing the new logo from the Branding Grant to create special license plates.

Lunceford brought forth the idea to increase litigation fees on traffic tickets.

“We can increase the litigation fees on certain court processes between $1 to $5,” Lunceford said.

The committee decided to do more research on what costs they are allowed to raise, and bring their findings during next month’s meeting, which will be held Monday, March 4, at 8:30 a.m. in the Mayor’s Conference Room.