Com­mis­sioner ad­dresses ques­tions about bud­get

Rome News-Tribune - - NEWS - Josh O’Bryan, Walker County Mes­sen­ger

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.”

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