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Monday, April 4, 2016

Jackson County Commission Results of Alabama Department of Public Examiners Report16-97

South side Jackson County Courthouse (photo by G. Morgan)

WAFF News Report Friday, April 1, 2016
"JACKSON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -A new state audit criticizes a loan that the Jackson County Commission took out to pay for road repaving...

The complete audit report may be found at the State of Alabama Department of public Examiners
Enter - Jackson County Commission, Jackson County Alabama, 10-1-2013 to 9-30-2014

.The auditor reported 2 findings

2014-001 Finding:
The Code of Alabama 1975, provides specific methods in which the County Commission may borrow funds for long-term debt. The Jackson County Commission entered into an installment loan with a local financial institution to obtain matching funds for the ATRIP program to be used for various resurfacing projects in the county. This method of borrowing funds for long-term debt was not authorized by statutes as provided in the Code of Alabama 1975.

The Commission should ensure funds borrowed for long-term debt are authorized
by statute in the Code of Alabama 1975 (11-28-1 thru 11-28-7)

This pertained to a Motion made and approved on Feb.10, 2014 pertaining to borrowing money for ATRIP Loans. Motion with my notes regarding cited violation.

Link to commission meeting: http://arklite.blogspot.com/2014/02/jackson-county-commission-regular.html  The applicable portion in the video may be found at approximately 14min.50 sec.. 
Discussion of this project took place on Jan 21, 2014 at the Work Session.

I discussed this issue with Mr. Manning, County Administrator and Mr. Hodges, Chair of the Jackson County Commission; both Hodges and Manning indicated this is a technical issue of wording, and the state auditor mentioned the issue could be easily corrected by changing the wording to comply with the Code of Alabama 11-28-1 thru 11-28-7, specifically 11-28-2 regarding financial warrants. In 11-28-1 it is stated that the legislative intent of the chapter mentioned is to be "liberally construed" as to conformity with the code stated.

The second finding also involved financial matters from the year 2010 carried forward.

2010-001 Finding:
The Code of Alabama 1975, Section 11-8-3, provides the County Commission must prepare and adopt a budget for each fiscal year which estimates the anticipated revenue under its supervision and control including all unexpended balances. Additionally, the budget should include an estimate of expenditures for county operations. The appropriations made in the budget shall not exceed the estimated total revenue of the county available for appropriations. The Commission adopted a budget for the General Fund and Gasoline Tax Fund in which the expenditures/appropriations exceeded the anticipated revenues and unexpended balances. This resulted in the Commission budgeting a deficit fund balance.

Recommendation: The Commission should not budget expenditures in excess of anticipated revenues including unexpended balances in accordance with the Code of Alabama 1975, Section 11-8-3..

County Revenue in Alabama
This is a continuation of the deplorable state of the Alabama Constitution which is a holdover from Post Civil War Jim Crow Era of Alabama, the state must control everything local. The Counties in Alabama have no self rule. Municipalities have the authority to issue ordinances as authorized by the state. Counties can not pass any law without the approval of the State Legislative Body. Jackson County has no authority to raise taxes for the operation of its General Fund Budget. A previous voter referendum for a tax increase was voted down. 

Services cost money, if citizens are not willing to pay for services, they will receive the service they pay to receive. In the case of Jackson County Alabama  Commission General Fund that is a drop in income from a general fund amount of $12,000,000 in 2006 to a current general fund income of $7,000,000 for 2016, in a time of inflationary costs. The available amount of general funds are expected to continue to plunge approximately 12%  for FY 2017 due to further TVA in Lieu of Tax decreases.

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