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Friday, August 11, 2017
Law Enforcement Holding the Bag
Yesterday afternoon I received a call that Greg Steenson was seen with state police and other outside agencies on the waterway near Hartselle. I sent a contact to the location of the party. The contact asks what they were looking for at about the same time he observed men in dive gear walking up the hill congratulating each other and holding up something in a bag. The divers handed the bag over to the officers on the bridge. The entire incident is very interesting, to say the least. So what does this mean in the scheme of things? I am sure anonymous will let us know as soon as this blog comes out. Very interesting indeed.. On another note. Blogger comments are in BLUE.
Commission proposes deep cuts to nonprofits
By Evan Belanger Staff Writer
Morgan County commissioners agreed in budget talks Thursday to cut another $201,500 from nonprofit groups and other entities in a bid to balance the fiscal 2018 budget.
The proposed cuts add to the $108,500 in reductions already proposed by County Commission Chairman Ray Long.
Meanwhile, Long asked commissioners to consider a 2 percent cost-of-living-raise, which would mark the first pay increase for the county’s 390 workers in two years, after most department heads and elected officials sliced 2 percent from their budgets.
“The elected officials have done what we asked them to,” Long told commissioners.
The commissioners made no decision on the raise proposal and asked for county finance officials to prepare two budgets — one with raises and one without — so they could determine the bottom line.
The commission is expected to take up the final budget for fiscal 2018, which starts Oct. 1, at its Aug. 29 meeting.
In a bid to further cut expenses from Long’s initial proposed budget, which projected $44.9 million in spending — down 4.5 percent from the current year — and a 3.4 percent decline in revenue, the commission added to Long’s proposed cuts to nonprofit agencies and other entities that historically receive money from the county.
Commissioners are taking an extra $50,000 from the Morgan County Health Department’s appropriation, which Long already had proposed cutting by $50,000. That takes its total appropriation from $170,000 to $70,000.
Asked if the cut would require layoffs at the Health Department, Dr. Scott Harris, who heads the department, said on Thursday it was too early to say.
“We’ll have to regroup and decide what we’re going to do next,” he said.
On Tuesday, Harris asked the commission to reconsider the $50,000 cut initially proposed by Long, saying it would cost the department $175,000 in total funding, because the department uses the local money to match federal Medicaid dollars.
Long’s proposed cut, Harris said at the time, would make it more difficult for the health department to fulfill its public health mission, which includes inspecting restaurants and hotels, permitting septic tanks, investigating dog bites for rabies, providing intervention for sexually transmitted diseases, vaccinations for the poor, and family planning services.
The commission also proposed eliminating all funding for the Community Free Clinic of Decatur-Morgan County, which provides free health care to the working uninsured. That nonprofit already was facing a $5,000 cut in Long’s proposed budget. It received $20,000 from the county this fiscal year.
The Decatur Downtown Redevelopment Authority also faces a complete elimination of its $50,000 appropriation from the county.
Commissioner Jeff Clark said that appropriation and several others were meant only to help the organizations get started and were not intended to be permanent funding sources.
Other cuts would take $25,000 from the Morgan County Economic Development Agency, reducing its appropriation from $200,000 to $175,000.
Agency President Jeremy Nails said he understood the reason for the cut and was hopeful recently announced industrial expansions would help bolster revenues for the county, allowing the funding to be reinstated.
Other entities that would see cuts include the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, the Hartselle Chamber of Commerce, and all Decatur and Hartselle libraries.
The commission maintained level funding for the Child Advocacy Center, which assists abused children during court proceedings, and the North Central Alabama Mental Health Board.
Long said the county would send notices to all the affected entities next week and that none of the cuts would be made official until the budget is formally adopted by the commission.
During Thursday’s budget hearing, four elected officials met Long’s challenge to cut their budgets in order to fund the first employee raises in two years.
Revenue Commissioner Amanda Scott, License Commissioner Sharon Maxwell, Probate Judge Greg Cain, and Sheriff Ana Franklin each cut their budgets by 2 percent, excluding funds considered by the commission to be out of the officials’ direct control.
Franklin made the largest cut at $161,702 from multiple funds designated by Long, according to county finance reports. Multiple commissioners questioned whether several of Franklin’s proposed cuts were realistic.
Blogger Comments: We should be impressed by Franklin's willingness to cut $161,702 from multiple funds but when she runs out of money she will go crying to the Commission. When the Commission says no. Franklin will hit the press and blame all of her problems on the Commission.
Clark pointed out she projected just $58,000 in overtime for fiscal 2018 for Sheriff’s Office personnel when she already has spent more than $204,000 on overtime in fiscal 2017.
Blogger Comments: Franklin projects $58,000.00 in overtime? Get real. Franklin has showered over time on Bones Wilson, Blake Robinson, Ron Livingston, and some of her other goons ignoring the hard working men and women on the road, corrections officers, and staff to her private projects such as the whistleblowers.
“We’ve just cut on paper, and I don’t think that’s going to work,” he said.
Franklin said she would pay any overages out of discretionary money from other sources, if she has it available, and that she is hopeful she can increase discretionary income through grants and by housing more federal inmates at the jail.
Blogger Comments: It should be easy for Franklin to pay any overages out of discretionary money and other sources now that her construction and up grades on the property in Saraland has been completed.
“I am open to any suggestions that anyone has, but you all asked me to cut 2 percent out of the budget or nobody in the entire county gets a raise and it sits on the sheriff’s back,” she said, adding she could not make further cuts without endangering staff and the public due to a lack of deputies on the road.
Blogger Comments: It's time the county placed Franklin's problem on her back. It is big enough to handle the load. The commissioners have let it be known that Franklin is responsible for her budget and RAISES for her employees. She can no longer lie to her employees about why they have not received raises. That coupled with the overtime she has freely given to her goons and not the hard working men and women of the sheriff's office.
As has been the practice in recent years, the budget proposes taking money from the road and bridge fund to balance the general fund. This year, it proposes taking $1.46 million, which will leave $809,532 for each commissioner to spend on road and bridge repairs in his district.