A special Fulton County quorum court meeting is slated for Oct. 26 to continue discussing budget cuts for Fulton County General. Among a variety of tactics to reduce overhead, the county is considering not giving raises to their employees.
The court received proposed 2010 budgets for the offices of Fulton County General at the Oct. 12 meeting. Although all departments were asked to reduce their budget by 20 percent, which continues a 20 percent cut required for County General in the remainder of the 2009 fiscal year, the offices were often found lacking cuts in 2010 budgets substantial enough to fall within the 80 percentile required.
All offices funded through Fulton County General included 50 cent raises for its full-time employees in their proposed 2010 budgets. Fulton County Health insurance for full-time county employees, as well as retirement benefits were also said to be increasing in 2010.
Although the preliminary budgets have been reviewed, the court will continue to refine the budgets until they are able to meet the requirements set forth by the state, maintaining an overhead of 90 percent of Fulton County's Anticipated Revenue for 2010, a figure less than the 2009 Anticipated Revenue of $1,886,000.
Southbuild of Memphis Tenn., made a presentation to the court, proposing an addition to the old nursing home building, south of the intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 395 at the north edge of Salem city limits. The proposed building, estimated to cost between $1.5 million and $2 million, would be an extension of the current building and would be used to house inmates, while the existing facility would be used for Fulton County Sheriff's Office administration. The nursing home building was donated for general use in January 2009 to the county, Willett said.
How the new facility would be paid for by the county will be put before the residents of Fulton County after a decision has been made what the new jail facility will be, said Fulton County Judge Charles Willett.
A women's shelter serving Izard and Fulton counties continues to search for a new location for their shelter. Christi Puckett of Safe Passages, the non-profit devoted to the protection of families who fall victim to domestic abuse, spoke to the court and those in attendance regarding the needs of the group.
The court was reminded that although there is a nurturing portion necessary to the group, Safe Passages also fulfills a necessary function within Fulton County that would have to be filled by the county if the organization were not already doing so, and that they have been serving the needs of the county for over two years free of charge.
Puckett asked the court to keep Safe Passages in mind in the future as they continue to search for a new shelter location.
A grant has allowed Safe Passages to allocate a full-time staff member in an office within Fulton County. They expect that staff member to begin serving Fulton County by November. The location of that office has not been determined.
A proposed amendment to the 1977 U.S. Clean Water Act was brought to the courts attention by concerned county resident, Mary Rivera. Portions of the U.S. Senate Bill 787: Clean Water Restoration Act, were read to convey the point that federal water way jurisdiction would no longer be restricted to "navigable water ways." Instead, all surface water within the United Stated would fall under federal control.
Letters from the American Farm Bureau and the Waters Advocacy Coalition opposing the bill were also reviewed.
Rivera appealed to the court to pass a resolution to write a letter endorsed by the court in opposition of the bill and for that letter to be faxed to both U.S. Senators, in an effort to put Fulton County on record as being in opposition to the bill.
The court voted in favor of the resolution.
In other business the county appropriated $3,381.54 to Tri-County Recycling and $5,000 was appropriated to the county Drug Fund.