The Marshall County Commission approved the county’s budget for fiscal year 2021 during the Wednesday, Sept. 9, meeting with only one commissioner voting against. 

According to the budget released by the commission, the county will operate with $12,340,712 of revenue with $12,335,859 as anticipated expenses. That’s a positive difference of $4,853. 

A total of $3.5 million will be allocated to the Capital Improvement fund, which is made up almost entirely by funds to be spent at the Marshall County Courthouse. 

The commission gave Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims the go-ahead during Wednesday’s meeting to have official plans drawn up for renovations at the jail. Estimated cost of the renovations is $3.2 million. More information about the jail renovation is inside this paper.  

The Mapping and Appraisal budget is projected to be the second most expensive budget coming in at $1.11 million. The Marshall County Emergency Agency is projected to receive $355,147 from the general fund and the road and bridge project budget is projected to receive $588,932.

Marshall County School Resource Officers are set to receive $637,183 total but only $157,183 comes from the county’s general fund. The rest of the funds are made up of car tag fees and TVA in lieu of taxes. 

The courthouse and jail repair and maintenance fund, which includes Albertville Courthouse, Guntersville Courthouse, armory and jail, is set at $465,000. Another $598,215 has been allocated for the property tax of county property and vehicles. 

The fiscal year 2020 budget was approved with estimated revenue of $11.384 million with expenses of $11,377,330 million. The increase in revenue from 2020 t0 2021 is approximately $956,000 and the difference in expenses is approximately $958,000.

Marshall County District 3 Commissioner David Kelley was the one commissioner that voted against passing the budget. Last week, Kelley sent a letter to the commission office with questions and concerns about the budget for 2021. He discussed his concerns with county administrator Kelley Fleisher during Wednesday’s work session.

“Back in August the commission’s budget was adjusted because of a decrease in revenue,” he said. “In 2019 this commission voted and approved that budget. Would we not have to approve a decrease in that budget, and why wasn’t the decrease brought to the attention of the commission so we could look at it and use reserve funds to meet those short falls?”

Fleisher responded, “The budget that’s adopted each year is a projection. It’s always an estimate and we have to do our best to project what kind of revenue we’ll get. I have to make sure we don’t overspend our budget. When we see that we’re not going to bring in our projecting revenue we don’t need to spend what was originally estimated so we don’t end up in the red.”

Kelly then posed a question to county attorney Clint Maze: “Does a decrease in the budget not have to be voted on and approved by the commission?”

Maze responded, “Any changes to the budget, for it to be official, has to be voted on by the commission. However, we’re typically more concerned about that if there is an expenditure above a budgetary line item. So, the commission doesn’t haven’t to vote to spend less the what was projected.”

Kelly brought up another concern in regards to the 2021 budget.

“I sent a letter to the commission office on Sept. 2 asking to see exactly where all our money is being spent,” he said. “We need to know where all of our money is going before we vote on a county budget.”

Fleisher responded, “In your letter you asked to see those items, but you never specified that you wanted that discussed before a certain date.”

She concluded, “I am always here and would love for any of you to come to me with questions about budget, funds, anything about county finances. I’m thrilled to sit down and go over it."

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