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By SHARON GRAVES
In its only December session, Carroll County Fiscal Court on Dec. 15 approved the half-million-dollar budget for the Carroll County Sheriff’s department.
More than half of the revenue for the department includes $263,000 commission for collecting the $7 million in property taxes paid in Carroll County. Other sources of revenue include fees from serving papers, arrest warrants, transporting prisoners and other similar fee generating responsibilities.
Salaries claim the lion’s share of the budget at $247,311, allowing for a 5-percent increase for employees of the department, which includes the sheriff, deputies, bailiffs and full- and part-time office staff. Health insurance totaling $74,400 and fuel costs of $30,000 were the only other large expenditures in the budget.
A police department in Dayton, Ohio, has donated a 2003 Crown Victoria with 70,000 miles on it to the sheriff’s department.
“We had some sirens go bad, and they donated four new sirens and four new light bars also,” Sheriff Ben Smith said. “We’ll pick them up Friday. We are getting a complete vehicle, all set up, that can be used as a transport car.”
The court requested a list of all vehicles in the sheriff’s department, with mileage and condition information included.
Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson presented an audit report for his office. Independent auditors were on site for several days recently and made only one recommendation: To implement procedures that would ensure all fixed/capital assets are recorded according to the office’s established policy.
The office has decided to record those assests at the end of every fiscal year, June 30.
Carroll County Memorial Hospital made a payment of $100,000 to fiscal court on its repayment of monies loaned to it during the hospital’s financial crisis in 2007.
The hospital still owes $400,000 that was loaned by the court, which is due June 30. Tomlinson said the deadline could be extended, if necessary.
The county has received $58,772 from its insurance and from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for storm damage from Hurricane Ike on Sept. 14. The money will be used to pay for repairs to the courthouse clock, the roof of the county road department and damange to the Emergency Operations Center on Polk Street.
The City of Ghent will be receiving about $360 for storm damage, which does not cover about 14 hours of contract labor used in the cleanup.
Sanders will be receiving $800 for storm damage there. The county is expecting an additional $32,000 disbursement from FEMA for other storm-damage costs, Tomlinson said.
The court recently received an estimate from Entran Engineering to build a new bridge on Lewis Road over Black Rock Creek. Entran said the replacement of the deteriorating bridge will cost $220,000.
“That’s pretty scary looking sutff,” Tomlinson said of the bridge.
Tomlinson was granted permission from the court to explore avenues of funding for the project. “If we can get 50 percent paid for [by the state], we probably ought to take advantage of it,” Tomlinson said.
State Hwy. 36 West was recently resurfaced near Notch Lick Road, where a portion of the road slid after heavy rains earlier in the year.
But Tomlinson said he is not pleased with the finished product.
“I’m very disappointed with what they did down there,” he said.
He believes crews should have placed grout in the holes in the road that formed when the asphalt was first repaired.
Instead, crews simply laid new asphalt over the old repairs, and he said he believes the holes will reappear by summer.
In Other Business
“For some years now we have been trying to get something done with the railroad crossing in Sanders,” Tomlinson said. “It’s been an ongoing difficult situation. They [the transportation cabinet] tells me they are getting fairly close going with that project.”
They have a couple of proposals they are considering and Tomlinson sent those plans on to the mayor of Sanders. The railroad track is located on top of a very short steep incline and is also in the middle of an intersection.
One option is to shut down the street that converges at the railroad track and send traffic through town to ease up the bottleneck that occurs there, Tomlinson explained.
The other option is to actually do something to lower the track. Tomlinson said he would leave the decision up to those people that live in Sanders because they know better what is needed.