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Budget, COPS grant discussed at BOC work session
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The budget was the topic at hand at the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners work session on Tuesday.

Among the items on the agenda was the United Way campaign, request for grants by Alice Cintron and a financial update on the 2010 budget.

Before those items were discussed, during the public comments section Rockdale County Sheriff Jeff Wigington brought up a grant proposal he said he would like to pursue but was not put on the agenda for two straight sessions.

He approached the Board for the COPS Hiring Program, which allowed the sheriff’s office to hire 10 people in 1999 and would allow for seven deputies with the present grant.

According to Wigington, the grant would pay the first three years of the deputies salaries but would require a 100 percent commitment by the county to pay the fourth year.

“The county staff reviewed the grant and thinks we are not eligible,” Wigington said. “We think we are eligible. We are puzzled that we were not given the opportunity to discuss it.”

Oden replied that he thought it would mean a cost of more than a $1 million to the county. “We just don’t have the money to fund it,” he said.

Wigington explained that the cost is lower and would discuss the subject more with the board.

Oden also pointed out there are 305 positions available for the sheriff’s office and 271 are currently filled. Wigington responded that most of those 34 unfilled positions are in the jail.

Once the meeting got underway, the United Way was the first to be presented as Claire Cline acknowledged Rockdale Water Resources as the top earning group, exceeding its goal by $2,000.

Following the United Way Campaign update, Roselyn Miller presented a financial update on the 2010 budget.
For 2010 Rockdale County was reported at 4 percent under budget.

The biggest drop in budget was indirect cost, which was a variance of -5.88 percent. The expenses for indirect cost in 2009 were $4,572,632 and dropped to $4,303,569 in 2010. Also dropping was personal service and benefits, which fell by 3.75 percent or $1,357,488. In 2009 $36,219,792 was spend on personal service and benefits, decreasing to $35,903,403 in 2010.

While those were the big declines, taxes and charges for services were the big increases from 2009 to 2010.

Taxes went up $155,916 or 4.67 percent from $33,281,685 to $34,837,601 and charges for services went up 4.60 percent or $177,698 from $3,864,882 to $4,042,580.