In Jan. 6 IssueBy John ThompsonTimes Journal Reporter
Wednesday, December 29, marked the last day of the Russell County Fiscal Court under the administration of County Judge Executive Mickey Garner. The meeting was a continuation of the regularly scheduled monthly meeting held on December 15 to complete business before the administration of County Judge Executive Gary Robertson took over at the beginning of the new year.
After the minutes of the previous meeting were approved, Sheriff Larry Bennett presented the court with the 2011 budget. The budget estimate is just over $750,000. This budget is similar to the 2010 budget.
After the budget was approved Bennett asked for approval from the court for a bond to cover a $180,000 loan from the state.
Bennett also asked for approval of the limit for Deputy Sheriff salaries. The limit was set at $450,000 which is the ceiling that has been set for previous years. Bennett said recently salary expenditures had only reached $290,000, well below the cap limit. Sheriff Bennett did say that the issue may have to be readdressed for amendment to the budget in the future depending on requirements by Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) regarding policing requirements to be in compliance with the needs of the new judicial center. Sheriff Bennett said those salaries, if required, would be reimbursed by AOC but the budget would need to reflect those disbursements.
Judge Garner asked the court to vote to purchase a food processor and other small cost items at the request of Kellwell, the food service contractor for the new detention center. The court voted to provide the $3,500 to purchase the needed items. Meal costs are prorated according to the number of inmates but the cost will be less than $2 a meal. The year-long contract has a 30 break clause by either the county or the service provider.
Magistrate Steve Bledsoe asked for a road in his district be renamed from Bunch Rd. to George Bunch Rd.
The court voted to pay 16 days of vacation to Troy Meadows, Director of the Recycling Center. Meadows was unable to take vacation time because of a lack of a qualified replacement available. Incoming Judge Robertson said that efforts would be made to make sure someone with a CDL would be available to take Meadows place in the coming year so that he could take vacation.
Rita Johnson of the Airport Board approached the court to give an update of progress at the airport. Johnson reports that the Airport was holding three CD's in the amount of approximately $32,000 designated for growth projects. The county is required to hold 2.5% in matching funds for the airport in order to receive grant moneys. "I can remember not too many years ago we (Fiscal Court) were having to pay the electricity bill out there," said Garner, "so for you all to have $32,000 in CD's is something. You all have done an outstanding job."
Johnson said that changes over the years, along with upcoming renovations would allow for a request for the airport to be reassessed from a General Aviation Airport to a Commercial II, which would be a great draw for possible industry to move into the county.
The court voted to pass Emergency Budget Amendment Ordinance 10-13. This allows for unspent funds to be transferred over into the new year that was left over from the previous Fiscal Year. In general fund the amount is $346,941.77 and in road fund the amount is $200,462.67, jail fund $130,320.58 and LGEA (Local Government Economic Assistance) $6,306.41
Judge Garner presented plaques to Barbara Sharpe, who had recently resigned her position as County Treasurer after serving eight years and to outgoing District 2 Magistrate Steve Bledsoe for four years of service to the county in the position.
As a last act of the 2010 Fiscal Court under outgoing County Judge Executive Mickey Garner, Garner presented the keys to the courthouse office to incoming County Judge Executive Gary Robertson. "You'll do a good job." Garner told him.