Pulaski Council Members Continue Asking for Commissioners’ Help with Budget Challenges

Pulaski County Council members continue asking for help, when it comes to cutting spending and increasing revenue. During Monday’s special council meeting, council member and former commissioner Ken Boswell said the last time the county faced a fiscal challenge on this scale, everyone worked together.

“I’ll tell you. That’s the difference between today and 2009, when I was proud to be a commissioner for Pulaski County,” Boswell said. “And I’m not putting down any of our commissioners; it’s a hard job and it’s a lot of work. But the commissioners, the council, and the auditor worked hard, all three together, to do reductions in the county and get us back into a fiscal good shape.”

Once again, Boswell said one area in which the commissioners could help is printer and copier contracts. “We had a printer contract that we negotiated 10 years ago,” he said. “It saved us a lot of money at the time. But I just noticed we have $12,000 for copier components being kept in our storeroom. Why? We got rid of all them, but apparently a lot of them are back. But that isn’t council work. That’s commissioner work.”

Council Member Kathi Thompson pointed out that going back to having an in-house IT Department would give the county someone to oversee those agreements and re-bid them, if necessary. Thompson went on to reiterate a number of recommendations to the commissioners. She felt the Building Department should have a full-time assistant, but only if the commissioners enact new fees and policies to boost revenue.

She also suggested that the commissioners reevaluate some other departments. “I think we need to do one of two things with the EMS,” Thompson said. “We can either work with each township trustee to help supply funding, or we can look at contracting that service out. I think we need to take a look at recycling, watch it for the year, and if it doesn’t come close to income meeting expenses, then consider privatizing.” Additionally, Thompson proposed looking into the county’s utility costs and working with the Clerk’s Office to make sure fines and penalties are being collected.

While discussing potential budget cuts, Council Member Brian Young suggested cutting County Attorney Kevin Tankersley’s wages back to 2015 levels. Council members noted that might be difficult since he’s under contract, but Boswell pointed out that county officials could simply not call him as often and deal with the consequences.