Chickashanews.com

August 14, 2013

County offices prepare for larger budget

James Bright, Managing Editor, chickashaeditor@gmail.com
The Express-Star

GRADY COUNTY —

Grady County's budget for next year could benefit more departments than the sheriff's office. 

The document, which is currently under review, adds $800,000 more this year to the overall budget, which will give pay raises to most county employees. 

"This is the biggest budget I've ever seen," County Clerk Sharon Shoemake said. 

At $5.3 million, the budget should a lot for a 5 percent salary increase across the board for county employees. This combined with the lack of increase in insurance rates equates to spendable money for county staff. 

"The employees will actually get to see the money," she said. "It won't just combat greater expenses." 

Last year, the county ran a surplus of $400,000, Shoemake said. The unexpected revenue prompted Grady County Budget Consultant Chris Angel to increase the overall county budget. 

"We are projecting exactly what we made last year, plus money from ad valorem taxes will add an additional $200,000," Angel said. 

Budget predictions are based on collections, said Angel. 

Based on last year's figures, Angel was able to add another $350,000 for capitol improvement. 

"We know some work has to be done at the court house," he said. 

Shoemake said she will wait until all county schools and towns are operating at full staff before the new budget can take effect. The Grady County Commissioners Court will then vote on the proposed budget, after which there will be 15 day probationary period for protest. Shoemake hopes to have the money doled out by Oct. 15.