County commission fail to approve budget for third time

Polk County Board of Commissioners

Polk County Commissioners failed to come to a compromise during a third budget work session Tuesday night, delaying the fiscal year 2017 budget another month.

During the final budget work session of June, county commissioner Jennifer Hulsey proposed an amendment to the FY17 budget that would eliminate the assistant county manager and administrative assistant positions from the budget and to use the savings to fund a 2.5% pay increase for county employees, which includes a 1.25% cost of living adjustment.

Hulsey, Ray Barber and Scotty Tillery voted in favor of the motion and Marshelle Thaxton and Jason Ward voted against the amendment.  The budget resolution then failed on a 3-2 vote.

At this Tuesday’s county commission meeting, the original FY17 budget was brought up for a vote, Commissioner Hulsey again proposed the amendment to eliminate the executive positions and to initiate the raises.

That amended budget passed on a 3 to 2 vote, but was vetoed by Commission Chair Stephanie Burford, reverting the budget back to its original state.

Ward then presented a compromise offer that would cut the assistant county manager position salary in half and shave the administrative assistant position salary.  Funding for the increases for the cost of living adjustment would come from the cuts in salary and pulling from ad valorem and motor vehicle tax revenue.

Husley insisted that she believes that the county does not need an assistant county manager and argued the point with Ward and Thaxton.

The amendment failed on a 3-2 vote, bringing the original budget back to the floor for consideration.

The budget resolution then failed on a 3-2 vote with Ward and Thaxton voting in favor and Barber, Hulsey, and Tillery voting no.

Immediately following the failure of the resolution, Commissioner Thaxton called for the 2016 budget resolution to be extended to the next commission meeting.  That motion passed unanimously.

Following that vote, the commission approved Tillery’s motion to grant the 1.25% cost of living increase and correct the step raises from 2009-2012 for full time employees retroactive as of July 1.

It also allowed for county police detectives to remain on their 84 hour pay period to ensure they have equal pay to those officers on patrol at the same rank.

The resolution, however, did not include an extra 1.25% pay increase included in the FY17 budget, nor funding for a new maintenance position.

The new budget will remain in flux until the commission meets again in September.