MOUNT VERNON — Some of Knox County’s elected officials used their monthly meeting with the Knox County Commissioners, Thursday, to express continued concerns over the 9 percent budget reduction. The most popular question: “What’s next?”
Knox County Clerk of Courts Mary Jo Hawkins, Commissioner Teresa Bemiller, Auditor Jonette Curry, Commissioner Bob Wise, Recorder John Lybarger and Probate/Juvenile Court Judge James Ronk were all present during the meeting.
The Budget Commission, made up of Curry, Knox County Treasurer Sandra Mizer and Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher, were given budget adjustments to review from the commissioners and were asked to give recommendations.
At the meeting, Curry said the budget commission’s recommendation was complete but she needed the signature from the other members, who were not present at Thursday’s meeting.
“What I’ve done is an amended certificate for the 2009 budget to reduce it by $1.2 million. [This amount] is the revenue factor and that is where we are reducing the budget on estimated revenue,” said Curry.
The estimated revenue for 2009 was $14.5 million with $1.3 million carried over from last year giving the county an estimated $15.8 million for 2009.
“And I will reduce the estimated revenue by $1.2 million and that will give us $13.3 million. Right now, we are at $6.6 million through June, and if we double that, we are where we need to be in revenue for the rest of the year,” Curry said.
“Like I’ve said before, the budgeting process, even though we have sophisticated computers and software, its not an exact science,” said Stockberger. “We don’t know exactly how many dollars will be coming in.”
June 30 was the deadline to turn in budget reduction reports, the commissioners did receive information from the departments regarding cuts.
Stockberger said that the commissioners would rather not make the decision for department cuts, but if they have to then they will.
“We wanted each department to have the opportunity to look at their own budget and make those kind of choices themselves,” said Stockberger.
Many officials were concerned with cuts already made by departments, if they would have to lay off staff in the future.
“The general consensus I think ... is if you have departments giving 9 percent up, and then departments not giving 9 percent up — and we are still in the hole — then you come back and say to everybody we are laying off, is that fair to the ones that have given the 9 percent,” asked Curry.
“I do not think there is any reason to consider laying off staff. I really don’t see that as needed here,” said Stockberger.
Some departments have already taken in budget reduction on expenditures.
Hawkins said although she has made cuts in her department, the title office cuts were not connected with the 9 percent budget reduction.
“Title office is separate,” said Stockberger.
“General fund money is different from the title office. The title account goes into a separate account at the end of the year ... the title fund sits on its own and supports itself,” said Hawkins.
“One thing we are trying is when we go to order supplies we are trying to find an avenue to save money,” said Curry, explaining the auditor’s office is cutting added expenses starting with small things such as envelopes and mailings.
Stockberger said the commissioners will review recommendations given by the budget commission and then decide what is needed. Also they will be assisting those departments that have not made cuts to make reductions in their 2009 budget.