Commissioner Lindsey Allison at the Sept. 12 Shelby County Commission meeting.
The Shelby County Commission has approved a budget for fiscal year 2017, which begins Oct. 1.
The budget included more than $106.5 million in proposed revenues and more than $106.3 in proposed expenditures. When approving the budget at its Sept. 12 meeting, the Shelby County Commission also approved an amendment regarding funding for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
The amendment was proposed by Commissioner Lindsey Allison, who said the amendment would allow the commission to monitor money in case of any budget overages in regard to the sheriff’s office.
“My thought process was this was the first time, with the exception of one period about seven or eight years ago, that we had a substantial overage by the sheriff’s department,” Allison said. “At this juncture, I think if all goes well, we will be able to cover that, but I was concerned about that being a pattern and practice in the future.”
In addition to the funding for the Sheriff’s Office included in the budget — including more than $21 million in operating expenses, $100,000 in capital expenses, and funding for training, management and equipment and other expenses — the commission proposed for fiscal year 2017 $600,000 from General Fund reserves to be matched by $300,000 from the sheriff’s discretionary fund. The budget also projects $401,500 from the sheriff’s office’s federal inmate housing contract.
The amendment would mean that $1,001,500 would be allocated as the fiscal year progresses so that the commission could monitor spending.
“If there’s any overages of the budget, we can make adjustments possibly with that money to accommodate those overages,” Allison said. “If there’s no overages, the Sheriff will see an additional $1 million, be it through the federal inmate or the general fund reserve.”
Commissioner Corley Ellis said while he agreed with the amendment, he wanted to make sure there was a standard for when the commission would review spending by the sheriff’s office, suggesting reviewing it on a month-to-month basis.
Sheriff John Samaniego said the sheriff’s office will need to replace about 10 cars and one jail van this fiscal year, and holding the money back at this time could delay ordering those vehicles.
“Fall is the time to order the car replacements, and if you don’t order then, then you’re not going to get them until the following summer,” he said. “That’s the only detriment.”
He also said the sheriff’s office faces several variables and unexpected expenses throughout the year. The federal inmate money is not something he intends to draw on, Samaniego said, but would rather use that money for major projects or to cover any “out-of-bounds” situations that come up.
Allison said she understands that the sheriff’s office faces unexpected costs, but said the amendment would allow the commission to monitor on a monthly or quarterly basis the financial situation so that it doesn’t face an overage similar to this year’s, which will be a few hundred thousand.
It will take a commission action to release the money, and the commission can choose to release the funds at the necessary increments, Allison said. The example she gave was if the sheriff needed funding for a new jail van, the commission could choose to release more than $100,000 to the sheriff’s office while knowing there was more than $800,000 still available.
The commission unanimously approved the budget and the amendment.
Also at the meeting, the commission:
- Approved the holiday and payroll calendar for 2016-17
- Approved an alcohol license for a convenience store/ gas station located off of Highway 70 in Columbiana.
- Approved a three-year contract renewal with Waste Pro.