Jefferson County Commission

JeffCo Commissioners to Debate Budget in Thursday’s Meeting

Jefferson County commissioners hear budget proposals in Sept. 7, 2022 meeting. (Source: Livestream)

The Jefferson County Commission is set to consider the county’s 2023 fiscal year budget during its meeting Thursday.

The proposed budgetary appropriation for all funds is $962,149,935, with $672,306,998 in the operating budget and $289,842,937 in the capital budget. The capital budget represents 30% of the total budget and the operating budget accounts for 70%.

The operating budget supports daily operations as the county strives to provide efficient basic governmental services to its citizenry. It includes salaries, benefits, supplies, contracted services and such. The capital budget allows the county to pay for new facilities, roads, existing county facilities and the like.

Sanitary operations account for 40% of the appropriations included in the proposed budget, general government operations account for 26% of the appropriations, and 10% of the appropriations are set aside for public safety.

In a break from tradition, commissioners did not conduct budget hearings with department heads. Instead, those meetings were led by County Manager Cal Markert, Chief Financial Officer Angela Dixon and members of the county’s budget office.

“This is more in line with the County Manager Act because they report to me,” Markert said. “We had their hearings – I had them – and we worked it all out, put it together, sent it to commission. (We) gave them time to digest it all, adjusted it and put it all together and got it back to them. That was really the biggest difference. Well, there was not much difference, to be honest with you.”

The budget that was moved to the Thursday meeting agenda was largely unchanged from the one presented to the commission during a budget meeting Wednesday morning. The exception was a change in the amount of money allotted to each of the county’s senior centers.

The budget called for each of the 32 centers to get $10,000. Sheila Tyson moved to give each senior center $15,000, increasing the overall allotment by $160,000 that would come from budgeted reserves.

The motion passed with Tyson and Lashunda Scales voting in favor and Commissioners Jimmie Stephens, Joe Knight and Steve Ammons abstaining.

Tyson didn’t get everything she wanted. She expressed concern that Monique Grier, director of youth detention, had not gotten all that she requested in a recent presentation to the commission.

Daren Lanier, chief deputy director of revenue and interim deputy county manager, said the budget funded four of the 10 programs Grier spelled out. That allotted youth detention $328,000 instead of the requested $600,000.

“From our talking with Monique, she said a large portion of the problems are mental issues, whether it be psychiatric care, psychosis,” Lanier said. “We looked at the mental health parts of the program she was asking for that were funded. She also needed a records management system to keep up with recidivism, and some of the medicines that all of the residents get. This will help her keep up with that (with) a better record-keeping system.”