A look at the 2023-24 fiscal year budget for Houston County

While County Commission Chairman Brandon Shoupe says the county is still not where it needs to be, there are some positives to come out of the new budget.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 7:18 PM CDT
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HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WTVY) - The new fiscal year for Houston County starts in a few weeks, bringing with it a new budget.

The county commission approved the budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, highlighted by million dollar increases in certain sections and a low county debt.

The committee has committed an additional $2 million to road resurfacing, which should help with current projects, such as D Hodge, Cumbie and Crawford Roads. This additional funding will lower the county’s replacement rate from 100 years to 30 years. This is a significant jump, but not where County Commission Chairman Brandon Shoupe wants to be.

“You get 10 to 15 years out of a road, that’s pretty good,” said Chairman Shoupe. “This budget allows them to get that number down to every 30 years, which like I said, is still a step in the right direction, but still not where we need to be.”

In addition to road resurfacing, the county workforce received an additional $2.2 million increase to bring the compensation package up to market standards.

According to Chairman Shoupe, the county did a wage study and concluded nearly 80% of their employees were being under compensated.

With this additional funding comes the cutting of two positions, but with a competitive compensation package, Shoupe insists it will continue to bring hard working people to the county, regardless of the tight market.

“We want to have the best employees we can afford,” said Shoupe. “We will never be able to pay as much as what people may be able to get in private industries, but we also have outstanding benefits including a four-day work week and a pension that you cannot get anywhere else, especially in private industries.”

A quick facts sheet about the budget, released by the county, highlights a few other aspects of the budget. The budget shows minimal county debt, only using 13% of the allowable debt. The sheet also lists the eight agencies receiving the most county funding. This list is headlined by the Houston County Health Department and the Houston County Board of Education, receiving $525K and $500K respectively.

“We don’t want our services to degrade, and I think our department heads really did a great job of helping us get to where we need to be so that especially their employees are fairly compensated, but also that we can tackle some of these other areas,” said Chairman Shoupe.

This budget is set to go into effect on October 1.

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