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Houston County commissioners vote to publish 2018 budget

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — Houston County commissioners are gearing up to release the final budget of the 2018 fiscal year to the public.

The commissioners voted on adding the presentation to Monday's meeting Thursday afternoon.

In September 2018, Houston County commissioners passed a $44.7 million budget for the 2019 fiscal year. However, before the commissioners can fully put 2018 behind them, there's still one key thing that must be done. 

"Every year we're required to, once all of our finances are wrapped up, to present to the commission what the ending finances are," said Mark Culver, Houston County commission chairman. "That way, we can roll everything to an end as of Sept. 30. Sometimes after Sept. 30, we have bills come in, and it takes a little while to actually wrap up final numbers."

The commissioners will put a complete end to the 2018 fiscal year Monday morning when Chief Administrative Officer, William J. Dempsey, presents the 2017-2018 Annual Financial & Operating report. The reason it's done in January is to give the commission a chance to log the things that came in late into the budget.

"Bills come in, and revenue comes in, and we just make those adjustments," Culver said. "It usually takes them until about January to make it complete and final and more importantly, accurate."

By law, the commission is required to have a balanced budget, and one small business owner said that a balanced budget is important so that you don't have to live on borrowed money. Otherwise, you have to worry about paying interest rates. 

"You have to look at the expenditures that you have, and the amount of money you have coming in, and if they don't balance, what happens is they just get deeper in debt each year," said Kim Prevatt Swords, owner of Southern Gifts and Decor. "So, I try to run on the cash flow that I have, and it's working well so far."

Culver said that when handling this year's budget, commissioners were faced with road and bridge issues and safety needs, and after the budget, they have about $4 million in reserves.


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