County budget hearings postponed

Budget hearings to consider the 2013 budget for Jefferson County that had been scheduled for Tuesday have been postponed indefinitely, County Judge Mike Holcomb said Monday.

Committees of the quorum court had been scheduled to review the proposed budget, which called for spending $9.19 million for County General, an increase of 1.31 percent over the 2012 budget, and $3.5 million for the County Road Department, an increase of .39 percent.

The proposed 2013 total budget was $12,588,o40 or 1.05 percent over 2012.

“After closely reviewing the proposed budget, the members of the Finance Committee feel we don’t have enough information to come up with a 2013 budget that will satisfy the needs of Jefferson County,” said Dr. Herman Ginger, who has been chairing the Finance Committee in the absence of Vannette Johnson.

Holcomb said the format for the 2013 budget changed from previous years and some members of the Quorum Court had complained because the new format did not list the 2012 budget amounts for each county department and agency as previous budgets had done. He said the new format was one that was recommended by the state.

Revenues for 2013 have been projected to be as much as $2 million less than the revenues for this year, with loses predicted in collections of the Public Safety Sales Tax, as well as income generated by the adult jail and recycling programs.

Earlier this month, Ginger said that because of the 2013 revenue projections, county departments and agencies are going to have to live within their budgets next year and not rely on supplemental appropriations as they have in the past.

Among the supplemental appropriations approved by the county’s legislative body in 2012 were $360,000 for election costs, $104,000 for juvenile court, $51,000 for county buildings, and $21,000 for the sheriff’s department.