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Long commission discusses budget
LONG budget workshop
Wayne County Extension Agent Randy Franks, Long County Recreation Department Assistant Director Randy Simmons and Long County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Robert Berry wait to speak at a Long County Commission budget workshop Thursday. - photo by Photo by Mike Riddle
The Long County Commission had a workshop Sept. 17 to examine a budget proposed by commission Chairman Bobby Walker.
According to the proposed budget, which would run through June 30, 2010, the county would generate $6,511,288 in revenue and have expenditure costs of $6,511,288.
At the workshop, several departments brought issues to the commissioners.
Assistant Recreation Department Director Randy Simmons said the department’s proposed $138,629 budget is probably sufficient for this year, but with the current growth, exact figures can’t be set until next year.
Simmons said the department’s participation this year in football cheerleading exceeded 60 girls. The department doesn’t have enough outfits for everyone, so Simmons said they’ll need to buy more.
“The figure you have will probably work this year, but we’ll have a more accurate number next year,” he said.
Long County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Robert Berry asked the commission for funds to buy a van to transport prisoners.  According to Berry, the prisoners currently are transported in patrol cars.  Berry said there is $25,000 in the budget for an animal control officer’s salary. That money could be used to buy a van.
Regarding the sheriff’s department, commissioners said there were two positions last year that were funded by a grant. This year, the funds are not available.  
Commissioners said they’re trying to find a way to fund the two positions.
Commissioner Cliff DeLoach questioned the proposed budget. He asked why it includes a $102,000 salary/package for a county administrator when the county has yet to hire one.
Walker said the line item needs to remain in the budget because the county may hire an administrator this year.
The previous commission began the process of hiring a county administrator. However, they decided not to continue because four new commissioners were elected in 2008 and the panel wanted the new members to have a say in who was hired.
Nothing was approved regarding the budget during the meeting.
Commissioners also:
• Discussed lost revenue from the Wildlife Management Conservation exemption covering at least 9,000 acres.
• Listened to Wayne County Extension Agent Randy Franks, who said he received more than 250 calls about Long County during the past year. Franks wants to continue to serve as the county’s interim agent until a full-time agent is hired.  
The budgeted earmarks $12,000 for Frank’s salary, and the anticipated salary for a full-time agent is around $36,000.

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