Some good news for Jefferson County finances

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson Co. Commissioners received an update on county finances Thursday, including some good news on expenses.

Travis Hulsey, acting finance director for Jefferson County, said tax collections may be down, but so are expenditures.

"Expenditures are $26 million less during the same period so we have a net of $8.5 million," said Hulsey.

Commission President Bettye Fine Collins said this means no major changes are needed to the current budget.

"We are within our budget and it appears we will be able to stay within the budget we adopted," Collins said.

One problem, though, is a lawsuit has been filed challenging the county's occupational tax. Collins has ordered all department heads to prepare two budgets, one with the job tax money and one without.

"They could be operating with a third less than they are going to have," Collins said. "They have to take that out where they can. I think it will involve personnel."

Last year, when the county lost access to the job tax, hundreds of employees were placed on administrative leave, causing long lines at the courthouses.  

Another financial problem for the county is the county's nursing home. Budget Management Director Tracy Hodge said the county will have to provide more money to the county home to cover salaries.

"We are estimating we could transfer $1.5 million to the county home," Hodge said. "That could change, it could be higher."

Collins said she expects to hire a consultant to make recommendations about the facility's future. Some commissioners want to get rid of  the county home.

"I never thought we should be in healthcare business," said Commissioner Bobby Humphryes. "I think we should get out of the county home and Cooper Green."

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