County already dipping into contingency fund

The new year is only five days old, but Grady County commissioners are already having to dip into its contingency fund to pay some higher than anticipated bills.
County Administrator Rusty Moye presented commissioners Tuesday with invoices for maintenance on the county’s electronic voting machines, its workers compensation insurance plan and its employee pension contribution payment all of which were more than the county budgeted for in its 2011 spending plan.
The invoice for the annual maintenance on the voting machines totaled $9,250. According to Moye it cost the county approximately $7,000 last year.
Chairman Charles Norton suggested Election Superintendent and Probate Judge Sadie Voyles investigate the possibility of bids from other vendors for the annual maintenance, but Moye said this was a single-source provider.
Norton commented, “If it is approved to pay it we still need to research it. The bill could be $15,000 by next year.”
Commissioner Elwyn Childs asked Moye if other counties were using the same vendor, which is Premier Election Solutions of Chicago, and the administrator said yes.
The board voted unanimously to pay the invoice.
Another bill that was higher than expected was the county’s worker’s compensation insurance premium. Even with the county’s dividend credit from the Association County Commissioners of Georgia’s self insurance workers’ compensation fund of $30,702 the county’s bill for 2011 is $130,103, which is up about $10,000 from last year, according to the county administrator.
Moye noted that several workers’ compensation claims last year drove up the county’s premium.
The county’s recommended contribution to its employee pension plan also increased this year and Moye says that is due to the fact that county employees are staying with the county longer than in the past and are becoming vested in the retirement program.
The contribution for 2011 is $155,770, which Moye says is more than the $120,000 he budgeted for in the 2011 operating budget.
Administrator Moye says this is the largest contribution he can ever recall having to pay.
Commissioners voted in unison to pay both invoices.
When asked if they were concerned about having to dip into the contingency fund so soon into the year, both Administrator Moye and Chairman Norton said, no.
“I’ve seen years where we had to spend almost all of the contingency fund and then there have been others where we did not come close to touching it. If the revenues don’t come in as we’ve budgeted, then we may have a problem,” Chairman Norton said.
Moye said he is confident that the other line item expenditures in the budget will come in within or below budget so that it will not be a problem to use the contingency to cover these higher than anticipated costs.

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