Jefferson County beginning to feel the money crunch

By Alan Collins

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A Jefferson County commissioner says the county is going to run out of gasoline money soon.

On Wednesday, Commissioner Bobby Humphryes says his department will be out gas money by the end of next month. "We didn't want it to be a surprise for everybody. Especially if gas goes to three dollars a gallon," Humphryes said.

Roads and Transportation Director Wayne Sullivan says his department is also running out of money for new tires. "Tires have been a problem this year. We are down to $14,000 and in some cases that's three tires," Sullivan said

Commission President Bettye Fine Collins says general services, which oversees the running all county buildings, needs more money. "They are now moving all the personnel into the justice center in Bessemer, where you have them walking the halls 24-7 to see if there are no breakouts of fire."Collins said.

The county's smoke detector malfunctioned last week at the Birmingham courthouse. Until it is fixed, the county is having county workers walk the hallways around the clock looking for possible fires. Collins says the county can pay for it, but if the county has to pay a $50 million refund over the occupational tax, it may make it impossible to cover the costs.

"We would be in a world of trouble," Collins said.

Commissioner Jim Carns says he wants more information before committing to supporting giving the department additional funds. "We can't do it if the money is not there. We are not going to do that. Thank goodness we are like the State of Alabama, we are not going spend more than we got," says Carns.

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