Smith County Commissioners Release State Of The County Document

They're spending more money than is available, and the way things are going, it appears Smith County will go broke in eight years. The news comes with the release of the State of the County document.

Now, county commissioners hope the document will help explain the need to make budget cuts to elected officials and department heads. Judge Becky Dempsey says, "The court has gone a long way in the past to make the necessary cuts that we felt were absolutely critical to balance the budget. And hopefully by communicating these things to elected officials, we'll get some buy in from them as well."

Among some of the problem areas facing the fiscal year 2006 budget: jail overcrowding. In the next fiscal year, the county estimates it will need more than $2 million to transfer inmates to other counties. Another area of concern is the Loop 49 project. The county will need nearly $1 million for this. Also, significant funding is needed for various road and bridge improvement projects.

Next Monday, Judge Dempsey will present the proposed budget to the court.

Oralia Ortega, reporting.