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County Department Heads Request More Funds Due to Higher Costs

Daniel Prince

Union County Fire and Rescue, Parks and Recreation Department among 17 who presented

Union County Council will continue its budget workshops with a meeting today at 2 p.m. in the law library at the Union County Courthouse. Sheriff Jeff Bailey is set to present the budget for the Union County Sheriff’s Office, and council may also get an early look at some of the overall budget figures ahead of their third workshop, planned for May 5 at 11 a.m.

At Tuesday’s meeting, council members heard 17 different budget requests. One major theme throughout many of them was the rising cost of fuel and supplies needed to run their organizations or departments. Union County Fire and Rescue proposed an increase in their budget to just over $128,000. Their fuel costs have risen sharply, and that increase is reflected in the budget. The major increase is the proposed purchase of a truck. They are hoping to get an F-250 crew cab long bed truck with a camper shell instead of an open bed. Fully equipped and ready to go, the proposed cost is $68,725. Ken Black with Fire and Rescue stated they are working with Timken to try and get a grant to cover part of the cost of the truck. Another increase will be in rental fees. For the past seven years, Buffalo and Monarch Fire Departments have allowed Fire and Rescue to house one of their trucks in their fire stations at no cost. Black said recently that the board of the Buffalo Fire Department has sent a demand letter to pay rent for the space or remove the truck. He said currently, the truck is parked outside the fire department there because of an issue with one of the bay doors at the department. He said Monarch hasn’t proposed paying rent yet, but if they are going to have to pay Buffalo, he said it’s only fair to do the same for Monarch. Black said money could be moved around within the proposed budget to cover the cost, expected to be around $4000.

Kevin Shropshire with the Parks and Recreation Department said his main budget increase was for two full-time positions. He said his department is understaffed and needs someone who can be at the Timken Complex to coordinate events and scheduling at the park, and another person who could help with maintenance at the park and other outside areas. The cost of two new full-time employees with benefits is expected to be around $80,000 or so. Shropshire said the cost of fertilizer has skyrocketed, nearly doubling in price this year. His field maintenance request went up due to those rising costs.

We’ll have more from Tuesday’s meeting and today’s meeting in future newscasts.

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