KINGWOOD — The Preston County Commission ended the 2017-2018 fiscal year with $15,153 less in carryover funds than it expected.
The total FY 2018-2019 budget is nearly $9 million. The county had estimated it would have $1.95 million in unencumbered carryover funds from the previous year. The total was actually $15,153 less. Commissioners decreased the contingency fund to make up the difference.
Larger than anticipated regional jail bills were the major factor in the shortfall, County Administrator Kathy Mace told commissioners Monday.
In the past, Preston’s regional jail bill has been about $45,000-$50,000 per month, Mace said Tuesday. For example, the bill for February, when the commission was working on the new budget, was $45,934. This fiscal year the bills are in the $60,000 range, and July’s bill was $80,095.
“The regional jail, that’s what sucked us dry,” Commissioner Dave Price said.
Mace said there could be multiple reasons why Preston is paying to keep more people in jail. The March grand jury indicted 52 people, more than usual. There was also a switch in circuit judges, so some cases may have been continued.
In addition, ad valorem property tax collections have not gone up as much as in past years, she noted.
Price said it wasn’t a bad finding, it was just a little disappointing, much like if you hoped to get a tax refund and instead had to pay taxes.
“You can say that we’re doing a good job of providing everything that everybody needs —and not holding back — and putting money into your facilities and your parking and your paving and things that are needed for the office holders and for your employees, which is very important,” Mace said.
Also Monday, commissioners:
approved giving $36,776 from the Beautification Fund to the Preston County Parks and Recreation Committee (PCPaRC) to continue cleanup of the former Northern Railroad shops on Sisler Street, Kingwood. The County Cleanup Committee recommended PCPaRC receive the money from the fund, which was created by the county to help remove dilapidated and unsafe structures.
agreed to pay $1,500 for the first annual licensing fee for new software being bought by the sheriff’s department. Black Light from Black Bag will help investigators access Apple products.
appointed Debbie DeLauder to the Public Defender Corporation board.
agreed to contract with Toshiba for copiers in the commission office and animal shelter, replacing Xerox copiers.
agreed to pay a $723 match for the county clerk to receive a $7,221 records management grant. The grant will be used to scan deeds and other documents and buy a shredder.