Budget increase sought to maintain office’s salaries

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By Dave Taylor

Reductions in the amount of money state government allots toward salaries of office personnel employed in county attorneys’ offices has prompted Carroll County Attorney James Monk to seek an increase from Carroll County Fiscal Court in the 2009-2010 budget. On May 12, fiscal court held the first reading of the proposed $11,014,888 budget, which included an appropriation of $10,000 to the county attorney’s office.

During the meeting of fiscal court on May 26, Monk requested an additional $5,000 be added to the amount “so that I don’t have to cut their wages,” he said of his staff. “The County Attorneys Association has been lobbying the state for more funding” to no avail, Monk added.

 “Half of the money I’m requesting actually comes back to the county in insurance payments,” Monk told the court. “I’m not going to cut personnel.”

Monk said he has already told his personnel they would not receive cost of living raises this year. Without the budget increase from fiscal court, Monk said, salaries would have to be reduced.

“I feel obligated to my employees to at least ask,” Monk said.

“We can’t take care of everything the state is trying to eliminate,” said magistrate Mark Bates.

“I understand completely,” answered Monk.

The magistrates tabled the second reading of the budget until the June 9 meeting of fiscal court.

 “It does appear there will be a special session of the legislature this year,” Tomlinson said, because it appears the state has “from an $800 million to $1.2 billion shortfall. Indiana is having the same situation over there.”

The judge-executive distributed information about the Big Brothers Big Sisters program to the magistrates. As reported in the April 22 issue of The News-Democrat, a local committee is investigating the possibility of forming a Big Brothers Big Sisters agency in Carroll County. The core group of the committee is the Rev. Chris White, pastor of First Baptist Church of Carrollton, Ron Gillespie and Carroll County Schools Superintendent Lisa James. The purpose of forming an organization of this type would be to help children reach their potential through professionally supported one-on-one relationships with measurable impact.

Organizers of the effort said Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson County, in Madison, Ind., would serve as the local affiliate and umbrella for a Carroll County organization. The Jefferson County agency came into full operation in 1998 and currently serves about 90 children.

“It is a good program,” Tomlinson said. He distributed background material for the magistrates to familiarize themselves with Big Brothers Big Sisters because he expects the committee to “make a presentation to the court sometime in the near future.”

“We’re still trying to get the county pool in operation,” Tomlinson told the court.

In other business, the Carroll County Pool has been closed indefinitely as county officials look into making improvements necessary to meet the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Safety Act. “A lot of state parks don’t have their pools open yet, either,” the judge-executive added.

Tomlinson gave an update on the swine flu outbreak, saying by May 22, 24 cases had been reported in Kentucky. “Most of these cases have been mild,” he said.