By Ray King

A combination of furloughs and shared work programs generated just over $868,000 in savings from the 2020 Jefferson County budget.

Earlier this year, County Judge Gerald Robinson called for the programs due to fears of lost revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of a number of businesses that generated tax revenue.

Using either furloughs or shared work programs, each county agency or department registered savings that ranged from $538,059.56 for the sheriff’s department to just over $7,000 for the county clerk’s office.

During the regular monthly meeting of the Quorum Court on Monday, the county’s legislative body voted to unappropriate the money that was in the budget, then transfer the money back to the respective agencies and departments.

Speaking remotely from Benton where he is attending a Judge’s conference, Robinson said calling for the furloughs and shared work was a tough decision. He said he believed there would have been more savings if every agency and department had adopted the furlough plan instead of deciding to do the shared work program but said he understood why those choices were made.

On the subject of money, Count Treasurer Vonysha Goodwin reported that the county general fund on Aug. 31 had $1,732,802.81 in it. That compares to a total of $778,751.47 on Aug. 31, 2019. “It (the general fund) is looking really good compared to the previous year.”

Also approved were two appropriations for the Sheriff’s Office, one of them, for $191,600 from the Public Safety Sales Tax will cover salaries and benefits for deputies while the second, for $177,000 from County General will be used for a number of different needs including utilities, postage, internet connections, and other related services.

Due to overpayment on telephone service, several offices received reimbursements in varying amounts.

Before adjourning, Robinson said that plans to honor the late Justice of the Peace Dr. Herman Ginger are being put on hold for the present time until the Quorum Court can meet in person and have members of Ginger’s family present.