The Ellis County Commissioners Court concluded its second day of hearings on the fiscal year 2007-2008 county budget Tuesday, hearing reports from District and County Attorney Joe Grubbs, Treasurer Judy Burden, development director Delton Ake, indigent health director Diana Buckley, human resources director Debbie Sartor, Pct. 1 Constable Ben Fry, Pct. 3 Constable Jimmie Ray, Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Linda Sibley, Road and Bridge Pct. 1 Commissioner Dennis Robinson, Road and Bridge Pct. 2 Commissioner Bill Dodson, and Road and Bridge Pct. 4 Commissioner Ron Brown. A summation of the budget requests of these departments and commissioners follows.

The commissioners were set to reconvene at the courthouse this morning for the third and final day of the hearings. For more information about the hearings, contact the county at (972) 825-5000.

District/County Attorney Joe Grubbs

During his presentation, Grubbs informed commissioners that he would be modifying his budget requests from their present form. The following requests can be considered tentative.

In personnel matters, Grubbs’ budget requests seek to reclassify an attorney IV position to an attorney V position and to add five new members to his staff, including two clerk IIs, an assistant attorney II, an investigator II and a felony attorney.

The district and county attorney’s budget requests a decrease of funds for travel reimbursement and check processing, and an increase in funds for telephone, conferences, witness fees, legal research, computer service and equipment.

Part of the equipment line item includes a new vehicle for the office.

Treasurer Judy Burden

For her budget, Burden requested a decrease in telephone funds and an increase in funds for supplies, travel reimbursement, equipment and a computer.

Department of Development

In his budget requests, department director Delton Ake offset an increase in auto/tires with a corresponding decrease in autoequipment. Ake also requested increases in funds for telephone and maintenance of office equipment, the addition of a clerk I position and the reclassification of two clerk I positions to intermediate clerk.

Indigent Health

Indigent health director Diana Buckley requested lowering her department’s operating expenditures by $1,100 and its auto repair budget by $800. Buckley also sought to reclassify a clerk III position to accounting clerk and increase funding for background checks.

County Auditor Mike Navarro praised Buckley’s budgeting efforts to “do a lot with what she has,” calling her a “budget star.”

Human Resources

Director Debbie Sartor requested the court approve additional funding for operational expenditures (safety and training) for her budget. Sartor added that given her short time as director, she may need to appear before the court during the coming year to request additional funding for certain items not included in her budget.

Pct. 1 Constable Ben Fry

Fry told commissioners that no major changes were required aside from an increase in telephone funds.

Pct. 3 Constable Jimmie Ray

Ray reported that he requested no changes from his current budget.

Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Linda Sibley

In personnel matters, Sibley requested changing a part-time clerk position in her office to a full-time position, and to reclassify one clerk II position to a clerk III.

The JP also requested increased funds for the maintenance/repair of office equipment (for a new copy machine) and for janitorial services.

Road and Bridge Pct. 1

Commissioner Dennis Robinson requested about $20,500 in additional funds for next fiscal year in his budget, noting that the extra funds for materials, utilities and fuel “probably won’t be near enough.”

Robinson also noted his support for a county-wide employee cost-of-living pay raise, excluding elected officials and department heads.

Road and Bridge Pct. 2

Commissioner Bill Dodson requested a marked increase in funding for his precinct, noting the very poor condition of its roads and bridges. That condition is due in part to neglect by previous officials, the commissioner noted, adding that the already poor condition of the roads was made worse by flooding earlier this year.

While base salaries for the precinct will remain static, Dodson requested additional funds for utilities, telephone, a computer, contract labor, repair parts, gas/oil, gravel, asphalt, culverts, tires, dumpster pickups, general miscellaneous (for radios and uniforms), signs, and the purchase of equipment to replace inoperable units.

The additional funds total about $450,000, a sum roughly equivalent to the damages caused or made worse by the flooding, Dodson said.

Road and Bridge Pct. 4

Commissioner Ron Brown requested an increase in funds for utilities and gas/oil in his budget for the next fiscal year, and also noted his support for Robinson’s proposal for an across-the-board cost-of-living pay increase for county employees, excluding elected officials and department heads.

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