By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
July 17, 2013 —
Carter Fiscal Court met Tuesday morning to review the health department budget, talk with the coroner about his budget, and approve purchases for the E-911 operation.
County Coroner George Sparks requested a work session to examine his various costs and ways that his budget might be increased.
“I don’t have an office. I don’t even have a telephone. There needs to be more funds available for the coroner’s budget,” Sparks said.
He also submitted old expense claims from the previous fiscal year totaling nearly $4,000, the same amount his office is allotted in the county’s annual budget.
The Fiscal Court, however, stated they would be unable to pay the claims using funds from last year’s fiscal budget, because the requests were submitted too late and that budget period is now closed.
“These bills should have been turned in during last year’s budget cycle. We can’t go back and retroactively pay these,” said Magistrate Mary Ellen Greenhill.
The Court did not refuse to pay the claims, but clarified that funds to pay them would have to be deducted from the Coroner’s budget for the current fiscal year.
“I’m not being mean here but I assume that with you being an elected official, you would know what your duties are,” she added.
“I know what my job is,” Sparks responded. “If I need to come up here and get the squeaky wheel going, I can do that. I don’t want to, but I can,” Sparks said. “A $4,000 budget is an embarrassment.”
The Little Sandy District Health Department also submitted a request for an increase in its tax rate from three cents to four cents per $100 of assessment for the upcoming year.
“This is the first time since 1983 that we’ve asked for an increase,” said board chairman Lloyd Miller, who will soon retire.
The Fiscal Court opted to table the issue until next month’s meeting. That was decided because of uncertainty about the need for a public hearing on the proposed rate hike.
E-911 director Tommy Thompson then presented the Court with two separate bills, one for emergency generators for the east and west EMS centers, and another for updated 911 equipment for improved information transfers.
The purchases were approved and the discussion turned to complaints about the ambulance service, specifically that drivers were having difficulties finding houses.
Magistrate Clifford Roe questioned Thompson about the GPS capability of the ambulances. Thompson said that the vehicles are equipped with GPS but that the maps aren’t typically updated.
“They don’t buy the update software every year which is $79. I don’t have control over whether or not they buy the update,” Thompson said.
“What’s the use of having the GPS if you aren’t going to update it? I’d say that $79 is a mighty cheap price to pay for somebody’s life,” Roe replied.
In other business, the Fiscal Court approved resolution to continue participation in the state road aid program.
Fiscal Court will hold its next regular meeting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20.
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.