Madison County Commission discusses priorities and budget for new year

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - The Madison County Commission met today to discuss the list of priorities for the coming year. The one thing the county spends the most money on, is a necessity, but also a hurdle for the commission to clear. Of the 58 million dollar general fund, over 30 million goes to the sheriff's office.

Commission Chairman Dale Strong says revenue is growing, but the county still has to carefully consider how to spread out the rest of the money and make sure all departments are properly funded.

Strong says they try to stretch their dollars to best serve the community.

"We have 58 million dollars for a general fund for the sheriff's department to our district budgets to our court systems and our District Attorney... everything involved in local government," says Dale Strong.

He says a majority of the county's general fund budget goes to the sheriff's office.

"The number one responsibility of the Madison County Commission is to fund the Madison County Jail and the Madison County Sheriff's Department. When you start looking at 50/52 percent of the budget it goes to the Madison County Sheriff's Department," says Strong.

Strong says there is always more money requested than they can fund, so they have to choose wisely on where to spend their dollars.

"That $600,000 over what we have to spend is nothing. When I first started, we had more than nine million dollars over what we had to spend in requests and so we had to manage that," says Strong.

The commission will use the next few weeks to consider requests and make adjustments before finalizing the budget.

"Every department is needing additional vehicles, they're needing the latest technology and computers, and then there are some departments that need one or two or even three more employees to cover their operations," says Strong.

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