County commissioner criticizes budget, re-appointment of county attorney

Decatur County Commissioner Russell Smith
Decatur County Commissioner Russell Smith
Decatur County Commissioner Russell Smith

Decatur County commissioner Russell Smith voted no on two key decisions that county commissioners had to make at their Tuesday meeting, during which they approved the budget for the county’s 2014-2015 Fiscal Year.

Smith was the lone no vote on the county’s annual budget, saying he didn’t feel it was appropriate to budget money for the county-maintained Pines Golf Course and withhold a past contribution to the City of Bainbridge’s Leisure Services programs. County commissioners Jan Godwin, Dennis Brinson, Frank Loeffler, Oliver Sellers and Butch Mosely voted for the budget.

The county’s budget expects $27.3 million in revenues and $28.6 million in expenditures. County Administrator Gary Breedlove acknowledged the budget as adopted still projects an approximately $1 million shortfall, meaning that the county will again have to borrow against future property tax receipts to balance the budget.

Smith also cast the lone no vote on a motion to renew the contract of County Attorney Brown Moseley for 18 months, ending Dec. 31, 2015. Commissioner Smith said he had nothing personal against the county attorney and said his vote was based on principle only.

“We’ve always voted on the contracts of the county attorney and county clerk at the first Board of Commissioners meeting in January,” Smith said. “In this case, I didn’t think it was right to vote on the county attorney’s contract before new county commissioners are sworn in [in January].”

Smith joined a unanimous vote to renew the contract of County Administrator Gary Breedlove for 18 months, ending Dec. 31, 2015.

“We looked it up and saw that we are within rights to [extend the contracts], according to Georgia law,” County Commission Chairman Frank Loeffler said in response to Smith.

On the budget, Loeffler was optimistic, saying he believed it was better than recent years’ budgets. Breedlove thanked county employees and elected officials for working to trim the budgets of county departments.

One last minute budget amendment came from a motion by Commissioner Jan Godwin, whose term will end this December after she lost in the May primary election. After hearing a presentation from Humane Society president Carol Lewis about the Humane Society’s desire to build a new animal shelter, Godwin made a motion to increase county commissioners’ annual donation to the Humane Society from $40,000 to $50,000.

Commissioner Butch Mosely participated in the meeting by telephone.


Decatur County FY14-FY15 Budget (June 13 draft)

The following is information provided to county commissioners by County Administrator Breedlove about budget cuts in recent years.

Budget Year Amount Cut – All Funds Fiscal Year Comparison
FY12 – FY13 Cut $6,504,547 15.63 %
FY13 – FY14 Cut $2,303,918 6.6 %
FY14 – FY15 Cut $555,468 1.7 %
FY 12 – FY15 Cut $9,963,923 22.5 %

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