County Commission approves budget for 2019-2020, with contingency; adopts resolution supporting Streetscape Project

The Greene County Commission met in a called session on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 to consider action on the county’s budget for fiscal year 2019-2020, as well as action on the Streetscape Project, a collaborative with the City of Eutaw and the Greene County Industrial Development Authority.
The commission approved the proposed budget with a contingency. The basic General Fund portion of the budget totals expenses in the amount of $2,695,758.78 and revenue in the amount of $2,472,190.96. The General Fund budget will be balanced with resources from carry-overs from previous year/s. Approximately $223,567.82 will be taken from the fund balance, added to revenue to balance the budget.
Sheriff Jonathan Benison originally requested $2,062,875.20. The county’s expected resources in the general fund would only support $1,251,489.53 for the sheriff and jail, unless the sheriff provided the additional resources, which totaled $811,385.67.
The county’s CFO, Paula Bird, explained that the contingency budget approved does total an additional $811,385.67 in revenue and expenditure for the Sheriff’s Department and the jail, however, the contingency resources must be provided by the Sheriff’s bingo income and will be allocated toward his department’s budget expenditures.
The Commissioners approving the General Fund budget with the contingency budget included Tennyson Smith, Lester Brown and Allen Turner, Jr. Commissioners Corey Cockrell and Roshanda Summerville voted against the same.
CFO Bird stated that the contingency fund will be considered in the financial report as other sources and uses. She explained that the sheriff will be billed on a monthly basis for a portion of the contingency fund based on the percent of year completed.

The county’s General Fund Departmental Budget for expenditures, without the contingency component, is itemized as follows: Commission – $488,448.50; Court – $15,670; Youth Services – $1,800; Probate Judge – $254,845.36; Revenue Commissioner – $203,282.14; Election – $86,468.25; Board of Registrars – $65,964; Maintenance – $193,143.40; Sheriff – $686,324.83; Jail – $565,164.70; EMA/Homeland Security – $48,943.10; Coroner – $31,384.50; E911 – $30,000; Library – $20,320; Agency BOE – $4,000.
The county’s total expected revenue for the fiscal year is $7,583,539.39. The revenue sources include the General Fund – $2,472,190.96; Gasoline Fund – $2,699,817; Road & Bridge – $650,000; Highway & Traffic -$36,300; Capitol Improvement – $195,000; RRR Gas Tax – $882,830; Appraisal – $283,661.43; Solid Waste – $343,500; Sr. Citizen Fund – $15,960; Indigent Fund – $3,200; Motor Vehicle Training – $360; Motor Vehicle Tech – $720; The approved contingency fund is not included in this figure.
CFO Bird stated that the Commission allocates approximately 51% of the county’s general fund revenue to the Sheriff Department and the jail. “This is a practice, a tradition only, which occurs in most comparable counties in Alabama,” she noted. “In the past, the Commission has worked with me to come up with an operating budget that allows the county to have a surplus fund balance,” Bird said.

Streetscape Project

The County Commission approved a resolution supporting the Streetscape Project in conjunction with the City of Eutaw and the Greene County Industrial Development Authority, committing $70,000 to the project, which is in addition to the $10,000 previously paid by the county for engineering services on a related project. The Streetscape Project, provided with federal funds from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), administrated through the State of Alabama, will address the outer sidewalks around the Courthouse Square and street light in Eutaw. The estimated federal funds for the project are $640,000; estimated city funds, including the collaborative partners, are $160,000, with basic project cost at $800,000, which does not include engineering costs. The three collaborating agencies are paying the engineering costs as part of the local matching requirement. According to the contractual agreement with the state, this is also a cost reimbursement program and no federal funds will be provided to the city prior to accomplishment of the work for which it is requested.