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JPs Approve Budget Measures

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The Stone County Quorum Court did some budget housecleaning last week, establishing funding for some projects approved in 2021, but set for funding this year, and County Judge Stacey Avey gave an update about the ongoing county jail project.

Among the ordinances justices approved was one that re-appropriates funding for the election department to pay for county redistricting. Also addressed were several appropriations for motor fuel taxes, oil and lubricants, and repairs and parts.

A second ordinance established a new fund for a grant that will provide nearly $40,000 in new body cameras for the county sheriff’s department. Another $2,500 was appropriated for purchasing electronic tablets for justices enabling them to receive most of their official correspondence electronically.

In conjunction with the use of tablets, County Maintenance/IT Director Joey Burnett said the county is making a significant transition to upgrade the county website in a way that will make meeting minutes and agendas more accessible to the public. He said he is securing a common domain that will be used among the quorum court members for e-mail addresses.

“It’s something we’ve discussed for a while and it just seemed like a good time to do all these things for a smoother rollout,” Burnett said.

Justices also authorized an expenditure of about $278,000 for a 2022 Cat grader for the county Road Department.
Regarding the jail, Avey said HMN Architects, the design firm, has established a schedule for letting the project for a second bid. The new plan, which reduces overall jail square footage and makes use of existing space within the old facility is set completion on March 10, allowing the jail bids to be made during the first week of April, Avey said.

Supply chain issues caused last spring’s bids to come in more than $3 million over budget.

“We put it out there at the worst possible time,” Avey said. “And there were a lot fewer bidders because none of them really knew if they could make money.”

The quorum court approved a corrected plan for one issue in the 2021 legislative audit report which cited a single line item in the county sheriff’s department for making an annual disbursement to the county treasury rather than the required monthly disbursement.

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