County to begin budget hearings soon

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 14, 2010

NATCHEZ — New school and old school will gracefully collide in a joined effort to draw up Adams County’s budget this year.

After four years of retirement, Interim County Administrator Charlie Brown said he’s lost some steam in whipping up the county budget, so it helps to have rookie County Administrator Joe Murray over his shoulder.

Likewise, Murray said he is grateful to have started his job in time for budgeting when Brown is still around, despite the difference in their methods.

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“Mr. Charlie works with a ledger and pencil, and I’m more of a computer guy,” Murray said.

The budgeting process will become more rigorous as the Sept. 1 deadline approaches. Budgeting began June 2 when Brown along with the Adams County Board of Supervisors sent forms to department heads.

Brown said more than 100 departments submit budget requests to his office.

He said every year as county administrator he has had to deal with departments turning in their forms late.

“It really puts us in a bind when you get them in slow,” Brown said.

Brown said approximately 20 percent of the departments are late in turning in their requests. The road department is one of the larger departments from which he has not yet seen requests.

Each department fills out the same form that includes expenses and revenues for personnel, contractual services, supplies and grants and subsidies.

Brown said budgets that are less than or remain the same as the previous year usually get automatically approved.

For budgets that contain increases, the county administrators have access to accounting ledgers, which allow the county administrator to track every receipt and expense.

When a budget request has a notable increase, the county administrator presents the issue to the board of supervisors.

However, a few expense increases, such as insurance or workforce compensation, cannot be controlled, Brown said.

Brown said approximately 10 percent of the departments dispute the changes the supervisors make to budget requests, which are settled in budget hearings.

Brown said he is relieved after the budget is finalized.

However, he said if he does not do a good job, it makes the daily tasks of the county administrator more difficult during the other 10 months out of the year.

“If you think you’ve done a good job (budgeting), you can tell what kind of job you did the rest of the year,” Brown said.

District 5 Supervisor S.E. “Spanky” Felter said the Adams County Board of Supervisors budget meetings will begin as early as Tuesday.

Brown said at least three budget meetings with supervisors take place.

“We’ll meet every day if we have to,” Felter said.