To offset a potential deficit, county commissioners will meet with department heads in a series of workshops over the next month or so. Last week, proceedings ended Friday by trimming up the projected budgets for the road and bridge and sheriff’s offices.

County Engineer Les Anderson had submitted a budget for about 1.2 million, but came back with revised figures Friday. At that meeting, commissioners cut about $3,000 and transferred about $300,000 reserved for road materials to a capital outlay fund.

Sheriff Mike White’s budget was approved at $497,145, knocked down from $507,433. It’s been his experience, he said, that various opportunities will crop up during the year to augment final figures.
For instance, White had requested $3,000 for bulletproof vests, but said all of it will likely not be needed.

“With bulletproof vests, we can often get money for them through grants, then we can shuttle the extra money into other areas where it’s needed,” he said

In upcoming meetings, commissioners will discuss the possiblity of fees being charged to frequent users of county landfills and the Orange County Airport. County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said machines could scan punch cards or stickers on vehicles to keep up with payments. Commissoners will also consider removing public dumpsters from the county’s precinct barns to net savings in disposal fees.

Commissoners said they would present their proposed tax rate on Aug. 25. Two public hearings on the rate are required. One will be announced and the second one will be Sept. 15.

“From that time on, if we find another source of funds, we can adopt a lesser rate,” said Thibodeaux. “But we can’t adopt a larger rate than what is proposed.” Commissioners must approve their final budget by Oct. 15.