County spending goes $1M over - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

County spending goes $1M over

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June 14, 2006

Leesburg --  Lee County spent more than one million dollars over its budget last year.  

Commissioners say rising costs and unexpected expenses busted the $18 million budget.   So now they'll have to use nearly one fourth of the reserve fund to offset the budget overruns.  

Commissioners say now the challenge is to draw up a more realistic budget for next year.   A leaking roof on the Lee County Administration Building cost $55,000 to repair. "That's $41,000, plus repair to the inside of the building, as a result of water damage, was $14,000."

Lee County Administrator Alan Ours read a long list of cost overruns not covered by the budget to Commissioners.  "The majority of the expenses were not planned for," County Administrator Alan Ours said.

But the biggest budget buster was gasoline and diesel-- $160,000 over for fuel.  "It's costs that we can't control," Commissioner Wally Roberts said.

Another budget bite came from $140,000 in payments on land that didn't sell. The Jail spent $77,000 over budget to house, feed, and medicate inmates.  "Funds from the un designated reserve account will be taken to cover those expenses," Ours said.

A couple of candidates running for County Commission told the Finance Committee people in Lee County wonder if the Commission knows how to write a budget.  "There should be better planning for the county and for the citizens of the county who pay for all of this," Commission Candidate Mary Egler said.

Commissioner Wally Roberts said they are making changes to get the County's finances under control. "Last several years they made a budget that balanced on paper, but they didn't balance it in reality."

County Administrator Alan Ours said now Department Heads will be more closely monitored to stick to their money allocated.  "Them taking ownership of their budget, them understanding every expense in the budget."

Ours said the County will still have more than three million dollars in the reserve after last year's bills are paid.  

Lee County's proposed general budget for next year is more than $15 million. The Commission will vote on adopting the budget at its June 20th meeting.

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