Quorum Court expected to approve 2014 budgets at Monday meeting

A 2014 county budget of a little more than $12.7 million is expected to be approved when the Jefferson County Quorum Court meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

The proposed budget calls for expenses of $3,534,504 for the county road department, which is $227,064.10 less than the 2013 budget.

The county general fund is slated to receive $9,230,121.95 — $931,096 less than this year.

During meetings in November, requested 2014 budgets for a number of offices and departments were reduced by a total of $515,500, primarily by reducing money that had been appropriated for salaries and benefits for employees that was not spent. Those cuts included $40,500 from the County Judge’s Office, $58,000 from County Buildings, and $35,000 in election costs.

The only county office that received additional money was the Coroner’s Office. That office was given a $10,000 increase next year, which will replace what had become an annual $15,000 appropriation at mid-year to purchase supplies and equipment and cover fuel costs because of an increasing workload.

Also Monday, the county’s legislative body is expected to approve the appointment of retired teacher and former state representative Toni Bradford to the Watson Chapel School District Board of Directors.

Bradford, who was one of three applicants for the position received four of the five votes from the court’s Education Committee last Tuesday.

Because the Watson Chapel board failed to fill a vacancy within 30 days, state law required that the Quorum Court make the appointment.

Also expected to be approved is the appointment of Tommy Brown to the Pine Bluff-Jefferson County Library Board.

After receiving more highway tax money than was projected in November, the county road department is slated to have its 2013 budget increased by $140,000, with $75,000 of that total being spent on asphalt and another $30,000 for fuel and lubricants. The department has budgeted $19,800 for general supplies, $15,000 for gravel, and the remaining $200 for uniforms and clothing.

In addition to voting on the 2014 budgets for the county general fund and the county road department, the Quorum Court will also be voting on a number of other 2014 budgets for agencies and departments that receive funding from a variety of sources.

Those other budgets include:

• A $600,000 2014 budget for the Pine Bluff-Jefferson County Library.

• A $2,015,333 budget from the one-cent Public Safety Sales Tax with $200,000 of that going to Rural Fire Protection, $985,333 to the sheriff’s department and $830,000 to the juvenile justice center.

• A $1.43 million budget for the juvenile justice center, with $800,000 of that coming from the Public Safety Sales Tax and the additional $600,000 from other sources.

• A $566,635 appropriation for education at the juvenile justice center in 2014.

• A $3,818,966 budget for the adult jail, with $985,333 coming from the Public Safety Sales Tax, $1,866,333 from the quarter-cent tax for maintenance and operation of the jail, and an additional $947,300 from other sources.

• A $47,000 budget for the Public Defender’s Office to cover maintenance and operation. The attorneys and staff at that office are state employees.

• A $60,000 budget to pay jury fees for 2014. Those funds will come from the county general fund.

• A $4,500 budget for the adult drug court with the funds coming from drug court fees.

• A $4,576 budget for the Tri-County Drug Task Force. Those funds are from a state grant.

• A $294,356 budget for recycling operations in 2014.

• A $271,854 budget for solid waste management.

• A $1.24 million budget for the 2014 solid waste contract.

• A $26,83 budget for a part-time environmental officer for 2014.

• A $486,668 budget for Jefferson County District Court, with $243,334 of that coming from the county general fund, $121,667 from the quarter-cent sales tax for jail operations and maintenance and $121,667 from the one-cent Public Safety Sales Tax.