Fi­nance com­mit­tee bring­ing CIP, fee in­creases to County Com­mis­sion

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Sean Wil­liams [email protected]­

The ap­proval of the Cap­i­tal Im­prove­ment Plan bud­get for the 2019 fis­cal year is fi­nally slated to be an agenda item on the county’s next meet­ing, and if Polk County Com­mis­sion­ers ap­prove, the group could soon start pur­chas­ing the equip­ment and tech­nol­ogy it needs to thrive.

County man­ager Matt Den­ton an­nounced the bud­get’s rough draft would cir­cu­late be­fore­hand, and if no changes are needed, the doc­u­ment should be set in stone dur­ing the up­com­ing Oc­to­ber meet­ing, set for af­ter press time on Tues­day, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m.

The County Com­mis­sion’s fi­nance com­mit­tee dis­cussed amend­ments dur­ing their ad­di­tional Septem­ber meet­ing, but the most re­cent change came in the form of funds be­ing promised to a mo­bile com­mand cen­ter that would al­low po­lice of­fi­cers to re­spond to high-risk sit­u­a­tions more ef­fec­tively with sur­veil­lance, wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tion, wire­less net­work­ing, and more.

The ve­hi­cles can also give po­lice the abil­ity to an­a­lyze ev­i­dence im­me­di­ately, and stay­ing safe and dry is a solid perk for law en­force­ment.

The EMA’s orig­i­nal CIP had a mo­bile com­mand post listed, but the high cost of the ve­hi­cle re­sulted in it be­ing cut from the bud­get. Now, with the ex­penses amended, the group is hop­ing to ac­quire one for ap­prox­i­mately $50,000.

An ap­proved FY 2019 CIP bud­get would join the likes of the FY 2019 bud­get that was re­cently fi­nal­ized, and only the pro­posed 2020 SPLOST would need com­plet­ing af­ter­ward.

Each bud­get gives Polk dif­fer­ent spend­ing abil­i­ties, so com­plet­ing the doc­u­ments has been a pri­or­ity for the group.

“The SPLOST is a fund­ing mech­a­nism,” Den­ton said. “The CIP is a needs as­sess­ment for each depart­ment.”

The county’s new fee sched­ule isn’t far be­hind the CIP, and com­mis­sioner Scotty Tillery hopes to see a rough draft pre­sented and dis­cussed at the Oc­to­ber meet­ing as well.

Af­ter tak­ing sugges­tions and mak­ing amend­ments, vot­ing on the item could po­ten­tially take place in Novem­ber.

The cur­rently pro­posed struc­ture sees larger sums of money posed against or­di­nance vi­o­la­tors and crim­i­nals, but some li­cens­ing fees and other non-crim­i­nal pay­ments could also see an in­crease. While more money across the board, the fee struc­ture is still lower than cer­tain sur­round­ing coun­ties and neigh­bor­ing com­mu­ni­ties served as in­spi­ra­tion for some of the fees.

The up­dated struc­ture af­fects only of­fenses and li­cens­ing where mon­e­tary sums are nat­u­rally ap­plied al­ready.

“I’ve got one more meet­ing with su­pe­rior clerks of­fice, one more with mag­is­trate, and one more with pro­ba­tion- I should have all my fees in a nice for­mat to present,” Tillery said. “I want ev­ery­one to soak it in be­cause we’ve beat it.”

/ Sean Wil­liams

A sec­ond fi­nance com­mit­tee meet­ing was needed for Polk County in Septem­ber to cover all the top­ics of dis­cus­sion.

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