Supervisors: Cutting Back on Increases?

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As Lauderdale County supervisors continue working on a budget for fiscal year 2004, accountant Benny Watts examined proposed road maintenance expenditures for next year.

"We're going to cut it down to $1,912,000," Watts said. "That's cutting out about $75,000. Then on the last line, the capital outlay, cut it back to $295,000, which was what it was in last year's budget. So we're cutting most of everything out of that $174,000."

"We've trimmed the proposed increase back to where we were last year is what we've done," said supervisor Hank Florey of District 1. "So we really haven't cut. We've just cut the requests."

Everything is up for discussion. For example, District 5 supervisor Ray Boswell noted there was a large increase proposed for operating the county jail.

"We're going to have to learn that we can't put everybody who breaks the law in jail, because it costs money. Once they get in jail, we've got pay for their hospital bill. We've got to pay for all of that," said Boswell.
"Not only that, we put their families on welfare."

Supervisors Joe Norwood and Craig Hitt said they're worried about possible future tax increases.

"I'm actually just trying to figure out and weave through it all. I hope this is not a band aid that we're putting on the budget for next year," Norwood said.

"These are increases that we're having to deal with without tax increases," said Hitt. "And I don't know that we can keep doing that in the future."

The supervisors meet again Thursday to work on the budget, getting ready for the public meeting Tuesday, Sept. 16, at 5:00 p.m. in the boardroom at the Courthouse Annex.