Taylor County Budget Meetings: Who is Spending Your Tax Dollars?

By Courtney Burris | cburris@krbc.tvg

Published 07/23 2014 06:15PM

Updated 07/23 2014 06:58PM

Annual budget meetings serve as a way for the four County Commissioners and Judge Bolls to get together with representatives from local organizations to talk about how much county money is necessary to keep these organizations going.

Sheriff Bishop has requested $1.1 million dollars for the Sheriff's Department. He says they are hoping to replace ten vehicles this year since the department has many vehicles that are nearing the 200,000 mile mark. He explains that the maintenance costs on the older patrol vehicles is too high. He also hopes to purchase some night vision gear for the deputies, as well as upgrade some equipment that they already have. Although the money requested is over a million dollars, Sheriff Bishop says that what they are asking for is necessary.

"Everything we've got there is stuff that we need. Its nothing extra. Its nothing that's a want. Everything is a need so we are able to do our jobs the best we can," explains Sheriff Ricky Bishop.

The $1.1 million dollars requested is $57,000 more than what they requested last year.

The Sheriff's Department is also asking for $2.5 million dollars towards the county jail. Some of the budget includes upgrades, and replacing plumbing in the older part of the jail. Also not included in either of the $1.1 million or the $2.5 million dollars are salary increases.

Rochelle Johnson, General Manager of the Taylor County Expo Center, says she understands that some items should be ahead of fixing up the Expo Center, but she says the center still has an important economic impact on the county.

"Salaries for different entities within the county are certainly high on the list and the concerns for people need to come before some of this pretty needs to come. But I believe its important and I believe that its important to have the facility presentable so that people continue to want to bring their events here," says Johnson.

Johnson requested $185,000 this year. $30,000 of it is for an incentive program to attract people to host their events at the center. Other costs include replacing some of the gutter system, replacing parts of the marquee sign, painting outsides of some buildings, and general maintenance. Last year, the Expo Center received $75,000.

The Commissioners Courtroom was packed when it came time for the Rural Firefighters Committee to present their budget. Chairman, Gary Young, says that while they are only requesting money for things they must have, with four of the eleven departments in the committee currently planning, raising money, or building new stations, they need all of the help they can get from the county.

"We are going to struggle a lot trying to get these done. The county, unfortunately, by law, cannot help us there. So we are trying to get all of the help we can get otherwise so that we can stretch our dollar and our budget dollars as far as we can back towards some of these other priorities," says Young.

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