Commissioner addresses questions about budget
LaFAYETTE — Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield still isn’t certain why some officials are questioning the legality of his proposed 2018 budget.
Clerk of Court Carter Brown, during a presentation of the new budget on Oct. 5, said, “On behalf of myself, the other constitutional officers, other county officials, .... we want to inform you that we object to this budget and that we bring into question the legality of the process that you are following to adopt this budget.” Carter then left.
Brown couldn’t be reached at his office the next afternoon or on Monday. An office spokesman said Brown was on vacation.
On Monday, Whitfield said he has not spoken to Brown. But he believes Carter and other department heads are upset because they believe they weren’t given the legally required time to review the budget.
“From what I am understanding, he is stating that we should have made that final budget available seven days in advance (of the Oct. 5 meeting),” Whitfield said.
“The state law states that when you do your property tax increases and you are working on your budget, that you are to hold three public meetings . ... So we elected to have five meetings to be more transparent and to show more accountability for what we were doing,” Whitfield said.
In the five public meetings held to review property tax increases, there was a rough draft budget presented at each, Whitfield said.
“We’ve had those documents available, the draft budgets we have been working on. But no one has requested to view those — not a private citizen, not an elected official, not any of the staff. Zero. We have had zero requests for any more information on the budget and what we have put out. So it really surprised me when he came in and made that statement.”