Worth County Commissioner Tony Hall makes a point during Thursday’s budget meeting.

Worth County Commissioner Tony Hall makes a point during Thursday’s budget meeting.

SYLVESTER — After hearing protests the previous week, Worth County Commissioners adopted the fiscal year 2013 Worth County budget at a called meeting Thursday evening.

The vote was three commissioners in favor of the proposed budget with District 4 Commissioner Billy McDonald casting the single opposed vote. District 2 Commissioner Mack Sutton was absent from the proceedings.

Officials with some county departments, including the Health Department, Office of Probate Judge and Tax Commissioner, are less than satisfied with the outcome.

Following the meeting, where she was not allowed to speak, Tabetha Dupriest, Worth County tax commissioner, told The Herald she had prepared a spreadsheet listing data from her department dating to 2000.

During that year, 27,873 transactions were logged, with a staff of five, Dupriest said. With no change in staff, transactions steadily increased to 41,584 in 2011-12, she said. Last night’s budget outcome will reduce Dupriest’s staff to four employees.

“I want (the commissioners) to explain how this is justified,” Dupriest said. “Its abuse and discretion by the board of commissioners. That’s all it is.”

Dupriest said she only wanted what was right for her department and for Worth County.

“We’ll see if they do what’s correct and what’s fair and what’s right. If they don’t, we’ll go from there,” Dupriest said. “We’ll see what happens in a day or so. My No. 1 question is, ‘why haven’t (the commission members) presented what’s in reserve?’ That’s not anywhere in the budget.”

Dupriest has stated her preference for raising the county’s millage rate one half mill, which she says would raise taxes by $20 per $100,000 of property value.

Sheryl Hall, probate judge of Worth County, is similarly dissatisfied with the proposed elimination of one of her two clerks. According to Hall’s records, her office performed 1,066 separate services in 1994. Although the number of clerks has remained unchanged, the Probate Court performed 2,666 similar services in 2011, she said. Hall said it was “not possible” to operate her office effectively and efficiently with only one clerk.

“Well see,” Hall said, when asked if her office might seek remedies to the downsizing.

Tony Hall, District 1 commissioner, said he had not been given either the probate or tax office figures.

“It’s amazing to me,” Hall said, “how all of a sudden those figures appear — all of a sudden were being hit with that. There’s something wrong with that picture.”

Hall was aware of last week’s presentation of figures by Health Department Chairman Becky Greer, he said. Greer had given commissioners a breakdown of per capital contributions to each health department within the 14-county region. According to Greer’s figures, Worth currently contributes less to its health department than any other county, coming in at about a third of the average contribution.

“I’m still working on that,” Hall said. “I can’t speak for the other members, but there’s always the possibility of amending the budget.”

McDonald was generally critical of the budget and of the actions of the board.

“I served this county eight years as (board) chairman,” McDonald said. “If I’d done some of the things they’re doing I’d have been in jail. He doesn’t go along with staff cuts to essential county departments.

“I don’t know if (the departments) will take further action,” McDonald said. “I know I would.”

Matt Medders, board chairman, said he believes all county departments can be effective despite the harsh reductions imposed by the budget.

“We still have to look after the taxpayers,” Medders said. “I wouldn’t ask the taxpayers for one more dollar.”

Comments

rightasrain 1 year, 9 months ago

These whiners just remind me of a little kid who's sibling got a bigger piece of pie than they did. Get over it, live within the budget you have (taxpayers do), tighten your financial belt (taxpayers have to) and get on with the job you were hired to do and do it with the utmost courtesy and concern for the taxpayer.

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FlunkyMonkey 1 year, 9 months ago

rightasrain--remember that when you have to stand in line at the tag office because there aren't enough clerks to get you served faster!

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Trustbuster 1 year, 9 months ago

Rightasrain, Remember these offices don't have a history of overspending like the other departments. The cuts would be justified if health, probate and tax office overspent their budgets. It is certain commissioners playing with their favorites again. They don't fool me.

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Trustbuster 1 year, 9 months ago

The tax commissioner is right. It is simply abuse by the board. Some of these commissioners need to limit their terms of office. Several are no more than recycled politicians who have ran out of new ideas. Worth County has no county administrator that helps prepare and oversee the budget. The budget figures are submitted by each county dept. head and reviewed by a small committee of commissioners. The commissioners are not always available to visit each dept. in person and go over the budget estimates. Also if Worth County is facing financial woes then why was the recreation dept. receiving increased funding? Could it be because Mrs. Bozeman likes the dept. head more than the others? For the record the probate judge's office is responsible for marriage licenses and other important documents and the tax commissioner is responsible for collecting all local taxes based on assessments. They have to keep adequate records in order for the county to avoid lawsuits.

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FlunkyMonkey 1 year, 9 months ago

I agree with trustbuster. Why did not ALL departments have to give up positions? Like I said before, if there is not something in it for Bettye Bozeman, then the axe falls hard...Can we say the word "kickback"?

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maximo 1 year, 9 months ago

i thank the commissioners for not raising the millage rate in worth county. i have done business in the tax commissioners office and i believe she needs to learn to stay at work. she is an elected official for worth county and should be available to the public. money is tight for everyone department heads suck it up and step up and do your job!

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johnpauljones 1 year, 9 months ago

It is just amazing how some departments such as the probate judge office, tax commissioners office and the health department were all cut. Why wasn't the commissioners office cut. Could it be because MS. BOZEMAN is in that office, one of the ladies in that office has bragged as to how they make more money and do less work.. All I can say is Worth County wake up, the money is there, they just don't want you to know it. They want those who stand up to them out of office. Let's think about this if we lose one person in the Probate Judges office all the wills may take longer to process, who does this hurt, the famlies who are already hurting because they have to wait on the will to be probated. The tax commissioners office, wait tell you wait in line to get your tags or pay your taxes for an hour. The tax commissioner also has vacation time and from what I understand she teaches several classes for the state concerning taxes. Everytime I have call there or went in ( and that is many times) I've always gotten an answer to what it was I needed, if the ladies couldn't answer the questions they have called her or given me her number to call. I guess you would call that 24 - 7 service. Can you say that about your job MAXIMO.Last but not least, our health department. the elderly go there to get their flu shots and so forth when they can not afford going to the doctor. I guess the commissioners feel the elderly are not of any concern, especially if they are low income. WE NEED TO GET THESE COMMISSIONERS OUT OF OFFICE AND PUT PEOPLE IN THERE THAT CARE ABOUT WORTH COUNTY. NOT PEOPLE WHO DO THINGS JUST BECAUSE THEY DON'T LIKE SOMEONE. The ones that are losing their jobs are also being hurt, they have families who depend on them, those making minimum wages being cut 16 days a year with no pay, can you afford to be cut 16 days a year without pay. Comissioners office didn't get cut hours or people. SMILE PEOPLE YOU HAVE BEEN TAKEN OVER BY OUR EVIL-MINDED COMMISSIONERS .

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johnpauljones 1 year, 9 months ago

By the way, why does the jail need such a big increase. ARE THEY MORE IMPORTANT THEN OUR ELDERLY.

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