JeffCo Commission approves revised budget - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

JeffCo Commission approves revised budget

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A majority of the Jefferson County Commission voted Wednesday to approve a $763 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year, one day after voting down a similar budget.

The commission held a special meeting Wednesday and, by a 3-1 vote, approved the $763 million budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Commissioner Bobby Humphryes voted no, saying he still had serious concerns about the county's ability to sustain itself under this new budget. Humphryes wanted to extend the current budget into the new fiscal year, which begins Friday.

Commissioner Sheila Smoot abstained, but said she would switch her vote to 'yes' once she received additional information about the budget.

The budget passed Wednesday included $53.8 million for the sheriff's department, which was not enough to allow the sheriff to open the county jail in Bessemer.

Jefferson County commissioners were trying to find a budget they could all agree on. There were several issues that kept most of the commissioners from voting yes to the proposed budget in Tuesday's meeting, including the salary for a court-appointed sewer receiver and transparency in spending.

Commissioners initially said they had to budget about $2 million to cover the $500 per hour salary for John Young, the man appointed by the court to fix the county's sewer debt crisis. Commissioner George Bowman said that was too much and wanted that number reduced.  Ultimately, the commission agreed to reduce that to $1 million.

Other issues brought up with the budget included questions of transparency and concerns the budget was not sustainable.

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