MOULTON, Ala. (WHNT) – The Lawrence County Commission did what some believed was impossible. They passed a balanced budget for next fiscal year without reducing staff or services. It’s a considerable task in light of the fact the county lost it’s largest employer this year.
How does county government go from having to borrow $400,000 to meet payroll one year to having a budget surplus the next? That’s what has happened in Lawrence County. As a matter of fact, the budget approved will leave them with a budget surplus at the end of next year of some $130,000.
Commissioner Bobby Burch says they’ve plugged a lot of leaks in county spending.
“A lot of diligent work, a fantastic administrator, and the staff here has been working really hard,” Burch explained to WHNT News 19.
Each department reduced spending by at least 10%. That saved well over $600,000. Other cuts were made as commissioners went through the budget line by line.
The commissioners say the real challenge will come in 12 months when they sit down to write the budget for 2016. By then the full effects of the loss of International Paper, the county’s largest employer, will be well known. Their plan calls for holding on to the surplus created by this new budget and continuing to be frugal with what money the county does have.
Sales tax revenues are down across the area, and some attribute that to the closing of International Paper in Courtland. Meanwhile, commissioners say they expect to lose another $400,000 in property taxes which is the direct result of IP’s closing.