HomeNewsCounty budget committee looking to streamline process

County budget committee looking to streamline process

The Madison County Commission has entered a new era with new people on the Commission, which means new people serving on different committees.

As Carl Alexander has begun serving as the chairman of the budget committee, he and the other members of the committee are trying to streamline all processes regarding the budget.

Joey Hale, who was just re-elected to his second term on the Commission and has been on the financial management committee for the past two years is also serving on the committee.

Alexander, Hale, local businessman Marcus Love and County Mayor A.J. Massey met to talk with representatives from different county departments – mostly the department directors – to get their feedback on those processes.

“We spend a couple weeks in the spring having budget hearings and then we spend all this time going over the budget with the Commission, and then we wind up making all these amendments to the budget every month, including August, which is one month after the budget was passed,” Hale said during the meeting.

County Finance Director Karen Bell said there were 444 amendments made to the budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

“When we have that many amendments, why are we spending so much time on the budget?” Hale asked.

Alexander and the committee met in November and had a representative from County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS) to review and explain a few of the subtle but important details of county budgets and finances.

In this month’s meeting, the committee members who were present had a few questions for the department heads about what they would prefer as far as the budgeting process and trying to streamline the amendment process both for the sake of the County and its departments and the taxpayers.

“As we’re looking at this process, we don’t need to rush that, but we also don’t need to slow the services for the taxpayers,” Massey said. “But we’re looking at what have we done, what’s working, what could be better and how could we make that happen.”

The budget hearing process could look a lot different in 2023 as they discussed the possibility of taking a couple weeks for the budget committee to visit the departments at their place to talk with them about their needs.

They also discussed having discussions with the financial management committee about making sure both entities are working in cooperation with each other.

“CTAS explained to us last month that budget committee is actually a subcommittee of financial management, so while they’re overlooking everything having to do with county finances, it’s technically our job to be the ones looking at the budget each month,” Alexander said.  

A joint meeting between the budget and financial management committees has been called for Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. to continue the discussion and develop a plan moving forward.

“We’re not trying to re-invent the wheel, but we do want to make sure it’s rolling as smoothly as it can for the County,” Alexander said.

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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