County approves tentative millage and budget

Washington County BOCC 9-5-2013

Commissioner Todd Abbott stood before the Board to plead for three jobs to be saved during Washington County Board of County Commissioners public hearing and budget meeting on Sept. 5.

Cecilia Spears
Published: Friday, September 6, 2013 at 10:32 AM.

CHIPLEY — Washington County Board of County Commissioners held their first public hearing, approved of the tentative millage rate at 8.9195 and approved of budget Projection 20, which eliminated the Human Resource Department, the IT Department and the Administrative Secretary positions, during their budget meeting on Sept. 5.

Commissioner Todd Abbott first spoke to the Board before the public hearing.

“The sheriff has submitted a budget to this board for a wage increase to give to his staff,” said Abbott. “He told me personally, to my face that he has a wage increase for all of his employees and what disheartens me is that we’re discussing letting three employees go.”

He suggested there was no need to have cash carry-over funds and that they use the unallocated funds, which he stated was over $1 million, to save the three positions being terminated by the new budget.

“There are available funds in the bank and not allocated to any expense and not earmarked for any expense,” said Abbott. “What I’m asking the Board to reconsider the budget we have approved at the previous board meeting, which is Projection 20 and excludes Human Resource Department, the IT Department and the Administrative Secretary. I’m asking that you reconsider please because this is the last night we can do this.”

Chair Alan Bush agreed that there are funds but he explained they are designated to go towards debt.

“I don’t even think I can say what we have would be considered a decent contingency fund,” said Bush. “There’s funds out there and one of them is in the amount of $250,000 but we owe that money and through negotiations, those especially through our attorney and our planner, we have reduced that amount owed down to $205,000 but still that’s not money just sitting out there as a slush fund, that’s money that we owe and we’ve got to pay that.”

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