Lee County budget remains unapproved, commissioners deadlock on vote

With a 2-2 vote, Lee County commissioners didn't approve the budget as disagreement on the pending public safety building continues./ Jazmyne Hankerson

The Lee County Board of Commissioners originally expected to adopt its 2017-2018 fiscal year budget at its regular meeting on June 27.

However when the meeting adjourned on Tuesday night, no budget was approved.

Commissioners were deadlocked at a 2-2 vote on the budget as the pending public safety building continues to be the reason for the divide.

The vote was split due to the absence of Commissioner Billy Mathis because of conflicting travel plans.

Board chairman Dennis Roland said since the budget wasn't approved, they will carry this year's current budget into the new fiscal year.

According to the board’s budget committee chairmen Bill Williems, there is $379,500 allocated to the public safety portion of the budget right now.

On Tuesday night, commissioners also voted to approve the purchase of a new fire truck for the public safety building but it won’t be available until next year.

Commissioner Rick Muggridge said that since it'll take a year to bring the truck in, the money allocated to public safety should be split up other ways for now.

Muggridge proposed that $100,000 be designated to cover compensation time for county employees and $100,000 go toward technology issues in the county.

Roland, who voted in favor of the budget as is, said they'll have to do what they can about taking action soon on the budget.

“Sometimes the majority rules,” said Roland. “We feel like we're doing the right thing or else we wouldn’t be doing it."

The board will take another budget vote at the next meeting on July 11.

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