Greene County Commission Finishes Budget Decisions Ahead of Schedule

The Greene County Commissioners originally intended to spend most of the month of December working to fine-tune the county budget for 2020 and make tough decisions on what requests to keep and which ones to leave out.

Instead, the Commissioners wrapped up their work today on the 2020 budget, allowing the county budget office plenty of time to prepare the proposed budget for release to the public on December 30th.

“Working with all the department heads made this process much smoother this year,” County Budget Officer Jeff Scott said.  “Teamwork always making things go easier.”

“This has been a very smooth and deliberative process,” Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon told OI.  “The efforts of the office holders and the staff in their offices as well as the budget office, colleagues on the commission, it’s been great.”

The Commissioners made a change on the last day that added a new position within the County Clerk’s office that had been originally turned down by the commission: a person to be the key person for Sunshine Law requests.

The Clerk’s office has seen a significant increase in complex Sunshine Law requests that require large amounts of staff time. The requests this year have at times in 2019 required as many as three staff members working on them because of the complexity of the request; the new position will allow one person to focus on those requests and free up the other staff to work on their normally assigned tasks.

The Sunshine Law clerk will also handle tracking the paperwork for county property tax levies.

The Commission also made the decision to hire a position that most county officials agreed was a necessary addition. However, they voted to have the county’s new Cybersecurity Network Engineer begin their position on July 1, rather than hiring someone for the full year.

The Commission also voted to OK a new temporary jail facility because the Sheriff and budget office showed the commissioners that the county can save just over one million dollars in 21 months by using a temporary jail versus sending prisoners to counties all over the state.

In the end, the Commissioners only spent $341,000 of $424,000 that was allotted for Commissioner decisions by the budget office in their initial budgeting. Commissioner Dixon said the Commissioners were focused on priorities, not spending every available dollar.

“We were very judicious and thoughtful with not only what dollars we spent but whether it was an ongoing expense we’d commit to long term or if it was a one time expense,” Dixon told OI.   “Was [the budget item] promised in a resolution?  We really looked at things with a thoughtful eye.  Would it increase services? In one case, we mitigated a security risk to the county.”

The budget will be printed for members of the public to view starting December 30th. A final public hearing on the budget will be held January 9th with a vote from the Commissioners to formally accept the budget to follow.

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