Words and Images by Al Blanton
The Walker County Commission recently held a lengthy budget work session at the Courthouse Annex in Jasper. During the meeting, County Administrator Robbie Dickerson outlined the FY2024 Preliminary Budget and discussed ongoing commission projects as well as the General Fund budget, including that for all county departments in the coming year.
With the exceptions of 2018 and 2020, county reserve money has been on a steady incline over the last decade, and the county currently has over $5.2 million in reserves.
Current projects of the commission include an upgrade of door panels at Courthouse and Courthouse Annex, security at the Justice Center, construction of county morgue, completion of Curry Storm Shelter, ADA projects (replacing the courthouse doors, upgrading the elevator, replacing the basement doors, making bathrooms ADA compliant), Justice Center – Phase I near completion, and the purchase of the Probate Annex.
General Fund revenue of $12,316,738.40 will be divided into the following departments: Commission, Courthouse/Maintenance, Circuit Clerk and Courts, District Attorney, Probate Judge, Revenue Commissioner, Elections, Board of Registrars, Veterans, Civil Service, Sheriff/Jail/Inmate Medical/Clothing Allowance, EMA, Coroner, Juvenile Probation, Health Department and Library Maintenance, and Walker County Animal Services.
For FY2024, the Walker County Sheriff’s Office will have an uptick in revenue, but the overall percentage of county general fund revenue budgeted for the sheriff and jail is down from last year (46 percent for 2024). The Solid Waste budget will be up from $2.5 million to over $2.9 million, Jail Fund budget will be $643,778.00, and the Capital Improvement fund is projected at $404,000.
During an open discussion, the commission and county department heads also discussed employee pay, including raises, merit raises, a pay scale increase, and pay based on experience/service.
The budget deadline for FY2024 is October 1, 2023.
The Walker County Commission includes: District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis, District 2 Commissioner Jeff Burrough, District 3 Commissioner Jim Borden, District 4 Commissioner Steven Aderholt, and Commission Chair Steve Miller. WL