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County waiting on schools, sheriff before passing budget

At a June 15 county budget meeting, commissioners approved a motion for Washington County to operate on a continuing budget until a 2010-2011 budget can be passed.
Final approval of a continuing budget lies with the full County Commission, which will meet June 28. The current budget year ends June 30.
County officials must wait to finalize the county budget until the school system and sheriff’s office budgets are turned in.
Director of Schools Ron Dykes said the education board has a meeting June 24, after which they expect to turn in a final budget.
Commissioners also voted to send final budget amendments on to the full commission.
Amendments included moving money from reserves to help balance the budget; for example, $60,000 to cover juvenile court costs, and $40,000 to cover Howard Hawk Willis trial costs, although the county expects to recoup most of those from the state.
Mayor-elect Dan Eldridge attended the budget committee meeting, where he and County Attorney John Rambo asked for a new position to be created within the mayor’s office.
Commissioners voted to approve the creation and pass it on to the full commission.
The position is a director of community relations and communications, and would respond directly to Eldridge.
“This would make the county government look a lot better,” said Mayor George Jaynes. “Sometimes the right words can make a difference.”
Officials said the funds to create the position were available, although no specific salary was mentioned. Eldridge said he would like to keep the total cost of the position under $50,000.
In other news, the Health Department has moved into its new building in Princeton Road and has officially opened for business as of June 14.