In April 16 IssueBy John ThompsonNews-Register Reporter
The Russell County Fiscal Court met on Thursday morning in a special called meeting to keep the county afloat financially through the remainder of the fiscal year.
As has been reported, the county needs an estimated $191,000 to balance the budget to begin the new fiscal year. County Attorney Kevin Shearer gave a second reading for the provision to borrow $410,000. The explanation by Judge Executive Gary Robertson for the excess fund borrowing was to both insure that the estimated budget shortfall was adequately covered, and also to have some funding going into the first quarter of the new fiscal year until the increased revenues from the recent payroll tax increase from .25 percent to 1 percent could be well into effect.
"The extra money is there and available in case we didn't get the money in a timely way like we're hoping. It'll be sitting there to use if necessary for the first three months, in the next quarter," said Robertson. "It's going to be, everything took effect April 1; it's going to be sometime up mid to latter part of July before any of that revenue will start coming in."
The loan, secured at a 3.75 percent interest rate, is required to be paid back within 24 months. The loan application process was handled by the financial firm of Ross Sinclair and Associates.
After accepting the loan, an emergency budget amendment was passed in order to accept the funding into the county's general fund.
The only other item on the agenda was to hire an Occupational Tax Administrator for the county. There were a total of 36 applications submitted after the county advertised the position. Over a two and a half day period the 36 applicants were interviewed by a committee consisting of Administrative Assistant Leslie Barger, County Treasurer Kathy Tupman, Deputy County Judge Chris Ramsey, Magistrates Ronald Johnson and Jimmy McQueary.
After a two day period of interviewing, three individuals were called back to be re-interviewed, with Jamestown resident and long time Water Department employee with the city of Albany Bobbie Garner being chosen for the position.
Magistrates Johnson and McQueary gave high praise to the quality of the applicants; "We had a lot, a lot of very qualified people," said Johnson, "We had at least 10 or 15 exceptionally qualified people. I mean we had a lot of good people."
Bobbie Garner has been an employee with the Albany Water Department for 17 years, dealing with 5,000 customers a month.
The position of Occupational Tax Administrator was recently vacated by Sherry Stephens, who put in her notice weeks ago. The position was created in 1992 when the first occupational tax of .25 percent was implemented in Russell County. The position requires that the administrator collect local county tax and enforce the county's occupational and net profit license fee ordinance as directed by the Fiscal Court.