Montgomery County Commission Talks Cuts


By Alabama News Network

It looks like the budget ax will be swinging in Montgomery County.

The county commission is starting work on the new budget, but there's already a deficit to tackle. 
It's early in the process, but commission members are getting ready to sharpen their pencils for cuts.
But they say they're confident they can have things ready by the end of the month.
The county commission is responsible for setting aside money for departments like the sheriff's office, the jail, the county courthouse, as well as Montgomery Public Schools.
But right now the commission is looking at a lot of work to get the budget balanced.
"We're starting now with requests of about two million dollars higher than where we were in 2014. We've got to get it down to level or lower. We've got to get leaner and leaner," said Commissioner Reed Ingram.
This is the first year that Montgomery Public Schools Superintendent Margaret Allen will serve the entire year. 
Her budget requests are in and so far, Commissioner Reed Ingram has been impressed. 
"Margaret is doing a fantastic job, she's been real lean, real conservative. Very approachable. I'm really proud she's our superintendent. I don't see any requests out of the ordinary coming from MPS at all," said Ingram.
Schools are funded in part by a one cent sales tax. Ingram says that adds up to almost 30 million dollars for the year. 
That funding has helped with current projects, like tearing down some old buildings. 
"Bellingrath, I'm glad to see that's torn down. We've had that new school for a while, and the old school, that's the first thing you see when you drive up there. But now the first thing you see is it's being torn down," said Commission Chairman Elton Dean.
The school system hasn't made a presentation to the board yet, but Dean says all the students in the county are a top priority. 
"We support public education, private, homeschool, because when the companies come to Montgomery, they don't ask what school you graduated from. Do you have a diploma? So that's what we do. We support all education," said Dean.
Ingram says there are a lot of cuts coming, but the commission doesn't plan on cutting jobs or salaries.

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