Alva Review-Courier -

Budget cuts and layoffs for Alfalfa County?

 


The meeting held Monday at the Alfalfa County Courthouse with the commissioners proved to be a little more colorful than usual as they were joined by members of the excise board ready to talk money. Excise board members wanted to know how the budget was coming along and told the commissioners they would like to see the balanced figure within ten days in preparation for their meeting with accountant Buddy Carroll. The commissioners countered the request, explaining that the balanced figure won’t be available in ten days, because the true figures come in at the end of June, upon the closing out of the fiscal year.

Members of the excise board voiced concerns over the lack of communication between the offices, and said that they felt they needed to personally visit with the commissioners, as they feel they haven’t been told much and remain in the dark in regard to the county’s budget. They said they were there to fact-find and do their part in making sure the budget is balanced in a timely manner.

Elaborating on the county’s financials, talks about the continued decreases in carryover spurred discussion of what could be cut out of the budget. One idea was to maintain the insurance for county employees but to possibly cut the coverage for spouse and children. This move would save around $875,000 alone.

Another option discussed was layoffs. It was made clear that this was not the path any of the elected officials wanted to take, but keeping things the way they are has proven quite difficult.

Former Alfalfa County Commissioner Chad Roach stood up to ease the fears shown by the excise board, letting them know that the budget was actually pretty fat, and that there was plenty of room to make cuts. Roach’s experience as a former elected official, along with being a self-proclaimed numbers man, gave him the confidence to say that there should be absolutely no problem in trimming the budget, and balancing it wouldn’t even be tough.

Roach did mention though that more than likely there will be cuts to some offices. He reassured those who did not favor making cuts to jobs. “We have to make cuts because it’s our job. It’s just what we have to do. This is what makes it work,” and addressing the issue of limited communication, Roach stated that animosity between offices is not and does not serve the county. The two offices agreed to do more in maintaining better communication and the members of the excise board exited the meeting room.

The commissioners quickly moved on to approve the previous month’s minutes, blanket purchase orders, road crossing permits, the monthly officer report, and finally went on to open a large stack of six-month bids. Several concrete and asphalt companies put their hats in the ring for upcoming projects, and all but one were accepted. These bids are set to be reviewed and awarded accordingly next month.

Next, the resolution to execute the Agreement Establishing the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma was approved with the Board deciding to pay the fee all at once in lieu of forming an installation agreement.

Approval was also made on the county intent to participate in ACCO-SIF (Worker’s Compensation) for FY 2018-2019.

Numerous other items were discussed and approved and consisted of:

• The lease purchase agreement for 2015 John Deere $850,000 Dozer for FY 2018-2019 with Community National Bank and notice exercising option to renew lease.

• The lease purchase agreement for 2017 John Deere 210 Excavator for FY 2018-2019 with Community National Bank and notice exercising option to renew lease.

• The contract with Texas County Detention and Alfalfa County for FY 2018-2019.

• A cooperative agreement between the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry Wildlife Services Division and Alfalfa County Board of Commissioners.

• The State of Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs Detention Transportation Agreement with Alfalfa County.

• NACO membership, dues and voting forms: Ray “Toby” Walker will serve as county delegate.

• Change order #2 for Goltry Rescue Addition to Fire Station for $6,710 for sidewalks and to fill joints in sidewalk.

• Disaster proclamation for Alfalfa County: This is a state grant program that the officials decided to look into to try for the procurement of grant monies.

One item on the agenda that was not approved, but not unapproved either, was the 911 software, hardware and computer system. With so much information to comb through, the commissioners thought it best to table the agenda item, take time to study the differences in systems, and revisit the item on the agenda again at a later date.

 

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