The Independence County Quorum Court approved an ordinance Monday establishing the annual operating budget for 2018.
The budget ordinance also authorizes salaries and wages for county officials and employees. The total County General Budget for 2018 is $7.07 million, down from this year’s budget of $7.2 million because of a projected decrease in revenue in 2018.
The budget was prepared in a series of meetings by the Budget Committee. County Judge Robert Griffin and the Budget Committee asked all county offices and departments to cut their county general budget proposals by 3.6 percent because of the anticipated revenue decline.
At the last Budget Committee meeting on Dec. 7, Sheriff Shawn Stephens said money from the jail fines fund could be transferred to county general to balance the budget. He said that fund usually ends the year with a surplus. His proposal moved $51,000 from the projected jail fines fund to county general.
The vote on the budget by the full court was unanimous. By law, the county can only budget 90 percent of total receipts.
In other Independence County Quorum Court news, Sheriff Stephens asked the JPs to allow him to pay his employees for unused compensatory time.
The court approved his request to pay employees at the sheriff’s department and the county jail for accumulated comp time. Stephens said he had enough money in his budget to cover the cost.
The JPs also approved County Judge Robert Griffin’s request to allow all county employees the day off December 29, the Friday before New Year’s Eve, to extend the holiday time off.
In other action, the court approved a request by Independence County Tax Collector Diana Thompson to fill a vacant position in her office. The position was left vacant when an employee resigned because of health problems. She said the new employee would start after the first of the year.
The court also approved two appointments. Shad Pearce was appointed to the Shooting Range Board. JP Tammy Pearce, his wife, left the courtroom while the other JPs confirmed his appointment.
Dr. Bruce Johnston of Bethesda was appointed to the Library Board. Johnston, a retired Dean of Student Life at Lyon College, will fill the position currently held by Mary Miller. Her term expires in January.
Reporting by Bob Qualls