By Rayleigh Rozier and Erin O’Brien
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners Wednesday night discussed a proposed 2016 fiscal year budget of about $39.8 million, up $2.5 million from the previous year. The budget includes a deficit of $677,377. The budget will come before commissioners for approval on Oct. 5.
The proposed budget includes three major increases in spending from FY15:
- First, a $7.3 million increase was proposed for bond payments.
- Three million additional dollars are also allotted for health insurance premiums, up from $500,000 the previous year.
- Finally, Jackson County employees will now receive a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) based on years of service, which is budgeted for $505,332. Without these increases, the budget would be $2.2 million lower than FY15, and there would not be a deficit.
A projected increase in workload and productivity led commissioners to suggest a $58,500 funding increase funding to improve roads. The money would go toward projects such as erosion control, gravel road maintenance, asphalt repairs and engineering.
The budget includes a proposed $177,000 increase to the Elections and Registration Department funds due to a maximum of six elections to be held in Jackson County this year.
The budgets for the Jackson County Jail and Jackson County Correctional Institution are both increasing. Due to a new food service contract, the jail requires a $30,000 increase for food and kitchen supplies. Another $50,000 increase was added to the jail’s proposed budget for medical costs, electricity and computer hardware. The proposed budget for JCCI food and kitchen supplies increased $85,000 due to the inmates’ work schedule and need for more calories. The JCCI’s budget also includes another proposed $19,000 for a new mower and other facility improvements.
Several vehicles were recommended for purchase and would be financed through a three-year capital lease program:
- 10 fully-equipped patrol vehicles for the Sherriff’s Department – $391,000
- An ambulance and an SUV for EMS – $271,000
- A crew cab pickup truck and an SUV for roads – $59,000
- An SUV for Property Appraisal Department – $26,000
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will meet to discuss a few points in depth on Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. The commissioners will vote on the budget on Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. For more information, visit the Jackson County government website.