Commissioners begin to craft budget, big jump in additional payroll expense eyed

Grady County Commissioners began the annual process of developing a spending plan for next year Tuesday and met with several department heads and constitutional officers to discuss their budget requests.
The board met in person this week with Grady County Probate Judge Denise Maddox, Chief Magistrate Pat Pollock, Tax Commissioner Barbara Darus, and Road Superintendent Stanley Elkins. Other budgets discussed included the budget requests from Chief Appraiser Susan Bennett, Recreation Director Becky Bracewell and Extension Service Agent Deron Rehberg.
All of the budget requests presented call for increased pay for county staff. Grady County Administrator Carlos Tobar said he is recommending a three percent cost of living raise for county workers.
Tobar is recommending over $150,000 in additional money for the road department to cover labor.
“The amount of work has dramatically increased over the last couple of years and we’ve had to hire more people to do the work,” Road Superintendent Elkins said.
Tobar noted the large number of county road department personnel with less than three years of experience. Elkins said that reason for the lack of experience was due to the ramping up of hiring additional people, and not a result of turnover.
The county administrator complimented the road department for the work it has done for the Tired Creek Lake road projects as well as the Old 179 North project now underway.
During the discussion Tuesday, Grady County Clerk Carrie Kines-Croy suggested an issue the commission needed to consider was the number of county personnel who serve in multiple roles in order to save the county money, but are not compensated for assuming the additional responsibilities. “It’s something you need to look at,” she said.
No major issues were brought up during this week’s initial budget review by the county commission. However, Tobar said he was projecting the new Barber Park aquatic center and play area would open by Memorial Day 2018 so he was budgeting for supplies to operate and maintain the aquatic center.
Commissioner Keith Moye questioned whether the pool would open by then, and Tobar noted, “If it doesn’t we’re going to be highly criticized.”
The county administrator said that the county’s consultant on the project, Scott Sanders of Cox Pools, had indicated that was a doable schedule. “That is if we can come up with the money,” Commission Vice Chairman Ray Prince said.
The next scheduled budget workshop will be held on June 20 at 7 p.m.

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