The Lawrence County Commission called a special work session Tuesday afternoon to discuss ways to combat a potential deficit of $258,000 to its general fund in the next fiscal year.
County Administrator Heather Dyar warned commissioners that the projected deficit reflects at least $168,000 transfers from the county’s road and bridge account and from solid waste host fees. She said the deficit was calculated without including any step raises or cost-of-living raises factored in for county workers.
“If you don’t start making cuts or generating new money by 2021, you’re not going to have enough money in host fee or road and bridge to cover a deficit,” Dyar said.
Commissioners explored several ideas to come up with additional funding during the meeting including an increase in tobacco tax, stricter enforcement on tag renewals for mobile homes, and a potential centralization of 911 dispatch.
In a county work session earlier this month, Revenue Commissioner Brad Henderson suggested more money could be generated by enforcing mobile home and outbuilding registrations that are supposed to be renewed each year.
Henderson said the county may see some additional revenue coming in this year but the generation of revenue is not likely to make much difference until the 2020 tax season. He also said it would be very difficult to estimate how much the move will generate without knowing exactly how many mobile homes in the county are behind in their registration.
Henderson said registration fees range from $30 to $90 per structure depending on the size, year and assessment of the structure.
District 4 Commissioner Bobby Burch and District 3 Commissioner Kyle Pankey suggested Henderson get a crew together to distribute notices to mobile home residents who do not have up-to-date decals visibly placed on their structure.
“We’re just trying to collect what is owed,” Pankey said. “We want to be fair to everyone.”
The commission plans to meet with Sheriff Max Sanders in a special called work session on July 31 to discuss a plan for a centralized 911 dispatch office. Commissioners said the consolidation could save the county about $160,000 for the sheriff’s department.