County commissioners approve $22 million budget

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

The Curry County Commission passed a near $22 million budget Tuesday amid concerns about the potential of tough financial times in the future.

The budget is based on a projected revenue of $20 million for the 2009-2010 fiscal year, with shortfalls to be transferred from county reserves.

More than $800,000 will be needed to balance the road department, County Manager Lance Pyle said.

Pyle told commissioners it was a good budget and departments were conservative.

Expenditures from the general fund are budgeted at $11.9 million.

Commissioners commented briefly on the budget before unanimously passing it during a meeting at the Grady Senior Center.

Bobby Sandoval cautioned lean times are ahead for the county.

“I’m getting the impression that we’re going to be asked to do more with less,” he said.

“We’re not going to get anywhere near as much in legislative funds as what we’re used to getting.”

This year’s general fund budget shows a near 50 percent growth over that of four years ago. The jail and law enforcement account for approximately two-thirds of the overall budget at nearly $6.8 million.

The juvenile and adult detention centers alone will cost nearly $4.9 million.

Chairman Frank Blackburn questioned an increase in the mileage and per diem budget for commissioners.

“I want to know where the commissioners are going,” he asked, pointing out a jump of more than $11,600 to a total budget of $25,000 for commissioners to travel.

Pyle said he had been approached by three commissioners who asked the mileage and per diem budget be increased.

“Where are we going?” Blackburn asked, expressing his disapproval of the increase. “We have to be conservative.”