Jefferson County Leaders Report Over Spending

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By Matthew Searcy

JEFFERSON COUNTY -- Only half way through the fiscal year and Jefferson County is already hundreds of thousands of dollars over budget. 

County leaders say they're trying to find ways to balance the books before it's too late.  
 
"We are about 3 percent overspent on the spending side, which doesn't sound like a whole lot but it adds up to about $300,000," said finance chairman Bob Watt.  
 
Tax revenue projections are also off by about 3 percent, which leaves the county budget about $600,000 out of balance. It's a deficit that may soon require difficult decisions.  
 
"We might have to look at reducing hours at the courthouse or reduce the number of deputies or employees at the county jail," explained Watt.  
 
The largest expense this fiscal year is overtime in the sheriff's department. According to county figures, the department is more than $100,000 over budget.   
 
"It is the largest entity within the county government, they have more employees and more going on," explained Watt. 
 
Jefferson County Treasurer Dan Knox says additional tax revenues will be available in the coming months.  
 
"In the next two months we will receive about $440,000 in income tax payments," said Knox.    
 
"A lot of the expenses are front loaded," said Watt. "We incur a lot of expenses in the first quarter and first half of the year that we don't see in the latter half of the year and the revenues tend to come later."  
 
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