Prorate bill dead issue

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 15, 2005

For now, a bill to prorate the county's budget is a dead issue as far as the Crenshaw County Commission is concerned.

Revenue commissioner Sherry McSwean recently met with both the county hospital board and board of education, two entities that would be affected should the bill be passed into law. Board members were firmly against it.

"The feeling was that they were sympathetic, but neither agency was for it," McSwean told the commission during its regularly scheduled Monday morning meeting. "They said they were financially strapped as it is."

The bill would allow the county to deduct a small percent from taxes collected by McSwean on behalf of municipalities, county schools and the Crenshaw Community Hospital. The collected monies would be deposited in the general fund, said the commission, and be used to increase employees' salaries.

The commission has fielded concerns since the first of the year about low pay among county workers. Monday was no different, as Sheriff Charles West questioned the commission about overtime pay.

West said he was allocated just $8,000 in overtime per year for nine deputies, even as his department's responsibilities continue to grow. West also said overtime reimbursed by the state for work his deputies completed during the Westley Devon Harris murder trial, Hurricane Dennis and Click-it-or-Ticket campaigns, should be added to his department's budget and not the general fund.

"I just want my guys to get what they deserve," said West.

McSwean challenged the commission to find a way to increase salaries.

"Don't put this on the backburner," she said.

Commissioner Charlie Sankey said the Town of Petrey asked him if the county could construct speed bumps near a four-way stop at the town's entrance to slow down speeders. Workers at Petrey Wholesale - with business locations on both sides of Highway 59 - are also in danger from the high-speed traffic, said resident Tommy Petrey.

Sankey said the town would be willing to pay.

The commission approved a generator bid for the county's EMA office and authorized Anita West, Crenshaw County EMA Director, to enter into negotiations for a new trailer bid.

The commission also approved the re-distributions of state funding for the county's libraries to include 74 percent to Luverne Public Library and 26 percent to the library in Brantley.