Moultrie Observer

Local News

February 8, 2013

County increases spending allocation

MOULTRIE — Overtime pay for sheriff’s deputies and prison personnel and medical costs for prison inmates were among the biggest contributors to the need to amend the county government’s budget upward by $146,775.

Altogether, overtime and inmate medical costs associated with Colquitt County Correctional Institution totaled $30,000 each.

Those figures reflect the move to a new prison last year as well as vacancies in positions that made it necessary to bring in officers on overtime, said county Finance Director Wayne Putnal.

Commissioners unanimously approved this week amending the 2012-2013 budget to reflect those costs.

“We got a new (prison) facility that’s actually bigger than the old prison, so they need more personnel,” Putnal said during a telephone interview Friday. “They had a lot of turnover, people taking vacations late in the year.”

Overtime was necessary to staff the prison to deal with the shortage of manpower and cover for those taking vacations, he said.

The sheriff’s office also had turnover in the jail and a number of felony crimes that required criminal investigators to be out after hours and weekends, Putnal said. Warden Billy Howell and Sheriff Al Whittington plan to address the issues in for the next budget year.

County department heads will begin sending budget requests to the commission next month, Putnal said, for the budget year beginning July 1.

The vote to amend the budget does not necessarily mean that the $146,775 amount will be spent above the roughly $20 million general fund budget that funds county operations.

Some departments will spend less than budgeted.

Also, Putnal said, revenues likely will be greater than the amount budgeted because those numbers are figured conservatively when commissioners prepare the spending plan. Over the last several years the county has penciled in spending of reserve funding to produce a balanced budget, but it has not been necessary to actually spend those funds during the budget years.

“A budget is a living document,” Putnal said. “It needs to be adjusted based on what occurs.”

As of the end of the last fiscal year, the county had $7,423,000 in cash reserves.


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