Jefferson County Commission

Jeffco Commission to Dip Into Contingency Fund Rather Than Amending Budget

Commissioners Joe Knight, left, and Jimmie Stephens at meeting Tuesday Oct. 20. Source: Solomon Crenshaw Jr.

Rather than adding to the just-approved fiscal 2021 budget, Jefferson County Commissioners said Tuesday that money called for from a recent classification survey would come from the county’s contingency fund.

Chief Financial Officer Angela Dixon presented a resolution for an increase in funds related to a community development specialist position. The survey called for additional funds totaling $119,280.

“We’re in a brand-new budget,” Commissioner Steve Ammons said. “Why would this survey not be done prior to us doing the budget so we don’t have a budget amendment just 45 days into the budget?”

Commission President Jimmie Stephens moved to change the funding request, with the money coming from the commission’s contingency fund rather than the balance of the budget.

“Then when that contingency’s gone, you’re going to have to start saying, ‘No,’” Stephens said to the CFO.

After the committee meeting, Finance and Budget Committee Chairman Joe Knight said the contingency fun was established as an emergency fund in case an unforeseen incident arises.

“It appears she (Dixon) was talking about the general fund,” he said. “Instead of adding to our budget, our budget remains the same. We’ve got this little category over here. We’ll take it out of there and that contingency fund reduces by $119,000.”

Knight said it is “kind of strange” for Stephens to speak as he did about budget amendments because he’s got one coming from the Sheriff related to additional vehicles.

“It’s kind of ironic that he’s making that point,” Knight said. “We’ll see.”

The Department of Community Services and Workforce Development presented a resolution for a proposed agreement between Jefferson County and Bankers Insight Group, LLC, DBA Fort-Johnson Financial Consultants for business underwriting

“We received Cares Act supplemental funds that allow us to be flexible in how we make the loans,” said P. Nigel Roberts, deputy director of the Department of Community Services and Workforce Development. “We can be even be zero percent. The biggest thing is a lot of people’s credit is being affected so we can adjust it, based on the credit. In January, their credit was 750. Now it’s 500 due to (COVID-19). The banks won’t touch it but it’ll allow us to help them out still.”

Commissioners moved to Thursday’s agenda an  acknowledgement that the county had received an application for a a landfill in the Mount Olive area from Hilltop Recycling. David Denard, the director of environmental services, said the item is more of a formality; other approvals are required before landfill operations could begin.

“There’s a process three or four months down the road where the commission would have to accept or deny the application,” Denard said.

Commissioners also moved to its agenda a resolution to approve no more than $500,000 in Cares Act funding to Christian Service Mission for the distribution of food boxes.

Thursday’s commission meeting will be in Bessemer. Due to absentee voting taking place in the commission’s regular meeting place, commissioners will instead assemble on the third floor of the in the Bessemer Judicial Center in Judge David Hobdy’s courtroom.