Budgeting the Future

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The Lauderdale County budget for 2003 is no different than budgets of other years, according to county administrator Rex Hiatt. He said there's always more demand for dollars than there is supply.

"Not this year and I can never recall where we've had enough money to go around," said Hiatt. "Unfortunately there are a lot of good needs out there. Every department has that, has to go unfunded and hopefully our department heads recognized that and they'll try again next year and we can phase things in and get it done."

Hiatt explained why there's always a large carryover figure built in to the budget.

"It consists of a couple of things," said Hiatt. "One is basically a savings account for rainy days or emergencies that may come up in the county. We have some reserves for that. And then secondly they're funds that have not been spent yet from bond proceeds such as the road bond issue we issued a couple of years ago and the recreational bond issue, we haven't finished spending those monies and they carry over from year to year until those projects are finished."

This year's county budget is $38 million, about $1.3 million more than in 2002.

"It's a lean budget because we had to take out some items that we very much wanted to do, that we just don't have the resources to do this year," said Hiatt. "The biggest new expenditure in 2003 will be replacing worn out road equipment."

"The main thing is to take care of their needs and protect them during the new year and take care of the public works needs," said Hiatt. "Those are two big areas of the budget and those are the ones that have increases in them."