Dodge County Recreation Department Chairman of the Board Dr. Chip Stringer and Oconee Judicial Circuit Public Defender Steve Harrison both went before the Dodge County Board of Commissioners requesting they change the proposed budget they approved on December 29, 2016.
Dr. Stringer went before the commissioners requesting an appeal to their budget. He stated that they (the recreation department board) were not contacted when the commissioners met for their budget meeting and missed it and did not have any input and stressed that their budget was cut. He went on to remind commissioners that when he went before them at their December meeting, he explained how surrounding counties contributions towards their recreation departments compared to Dodge County.
Dr. Stringer stressed that Dodge County’s contribution was low, reminding board members that Dodge was paying $33.00/child; Bleckley County, $48.00/child and Pulaski County, $60.00/child. He went on to tell commissioners of the successes that the recreation department has hosted GRPA sub-district and district tournaments in softball, baseball and football and sent five teams to compete in state tournaments. The tournaments we hosted also brought revenue into Dodge County, stated Dr. Stringer.
Dr. Stringer explained that during 2016, operating funds had to be used to do maintenance and repairs that do not qualify for the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) such as plumbing repairs, irrigation, repainting concession stands, security system at Aloca building and adding speed bumps.
The recreation department took over their own maintenance in 2016 to help reduce their costs according to Dr. Stringer. He told commissioners their number of gallons of gas used was up, but that was where their budget had been cut. He explained that fuel prices were lower in 2016 than in 2015 and by all indication, fuel prices were beginning to increase in 2017. There are cosmetic issues and safety issues that need to be addressed at the current recreation department. Dr. Stringer requested a $30,000.00 increase in their operating budget, which would raise the cost per child to $38.00. No action was taken on the request.
Bids were presented to the board members from the recreation department for a new commercial grade lawn mower and new netting that goes behind the backstops totaling $27,978.00. The board of commissioners approved this request after interim county manager Bobby Peacock confirmed that SPLOST funds were available for the recreation department to purchase these items. Commissioner Terry Niblett abstained from voting.
Oconee Judicial Circuit Public Defender Steve Harrison then went before the board stating that he went before the board in December requesting an increase and that his budget had been decreased approximately $5,600.00. With the decrease, Harrison informed commissioners that his supplement since 2005 had also been decreased and he was taking it personally.
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