By Tony Farkas
GROVETON — Fuel costs and jail issues dominated budget discussions during a special Thursday meeting of the Trinity County Commissioners Court.
Commissioner Tommy Park said the big concerns for the coming year will be fuel and jail needs, and the new budget needed to reflect that.
The court agreed to add an additional $7,000 to each Road Department precinct’s fuel budget, which averages around $40,000, and increase fuel expenses for the Sheriff’s Department to $100,000.
Additionally, commissioners will look into purchasing an additional county vehicle to be used by certain county departments, such as IT, 911 Addressing and the County Tax Assessor/Collector’s Office, instead of reimbursing employees for mileage, to help save on costs.
The budget proposals include a 6 percent raise, 4.5 percent from the county and 1.5 percent COLA, but there were no raises or job classification changes allowed. County Judge Doug Page said the salary structure the county adopted last year is “set in stone,” and no alterations will be allowed.
Also, requests by the Sheriff’s Office for four additional jailers and the creation of a dispatcher supervisor position were denied because the need for those would not be determined until a new or temporary jail was built.
Commissioner Neil Smith said every dollar needed to count.
“We’ve got to save everything we can if we have to build a jail,” he said.