Wayne County Fiscal Court met in special session on Wednesday, May 20 and heard the first reading of the budget for the next fiscal year. The budget totals approximately $10.9 million in all funds.

    That includes $6.8 million in general administration, $1.6 million 
in the road fund and $2.3 million in the jail fund.
    Wayne County Judge-Executive Mike Anderson noted that this budget 
does not include any cost of living pay increase for employees. He 
said he hopes the court can address that issue later when they have a 
better idea of adjustments that will have to be made to county revenues.
    Anderson noted that this is a “cautious” budget, which estimates 
about 20 percent less revenue from occupational taxes because of the 
pandemic. Jail revenues could also shrink with fewer state inmates 
being housed at the facility next year.
    Anderson discussed some of the funds included in this budget, which 
has several grant projects. There is a $5,000 USDA grant for a gas 
feasibility study.
    Other USDA grant funds include $50,000 for an EMS ambulance remount 
project and $36,900 for vehicles for the sheriff’s office. There is 
also an EMS block grant for $10,000 included in the budget.
    At this point, Anderson noted it has not been determined if and when 
the county government will receive any stimulus funding, so no money 
has been included in this budget yet. The only stimulus payment that 
has been received is $42,011, which was given to EMS.
    Anderson said that funding from the county for E911 dispatching will 
remain the same in this budget.
    No action was taken since this was only a first reading. It will 
require a second reading and approval by the fiscal court.
    Also during the meeting, he court approved an amended contract with 
Southern Health Partners, which provided medical service at the Wayne 
County Detention Center. The current contract they are operating 
under is for an average number of 200 prisoners, but those numbers 
have decreased recently.
    Jailer Ronnie Ellis has negotiated with Southern Health Partners to 
amend the contract for an average of 130 inmates. Anderson said that 
this is about a $15,000 savings per year for the court.
    Anderson addressed the plan for reopening the courthouse, which he 
hopes can be done starting June 1. He noted that all PPE and safety 
measures will have to be in place before the doors are opened.
    Many of the offices will be available by appointment as the facility 
reopens. He said that the county clerk’s office will also continue to 
provide curbside service for anyone who does not want to come into 
the courthouse.
    Anderson said that there will be a large drop box placed outside 
that will allow the public to drop off items if they don’t want to come inside the building.

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