Hicks Withdraws Salary Increase Request From FY 15 Budget

Stephens County Tax Commissioner Dene Hicks said she is withdrawing her request for an increase in salaries to her department for Fiscal Year 2015.

Hicks issued that announcement in a press release Tuesday, stating that it is in light of the condition of countywide departmental budget constraints in Stephens County.

According to Hicks, withdrawing the salary increase request will decrease her expenditure budget by $2.557.10 under the Fiscal Year 2014 approved budget.

Hicks went on to say that in addition, the majority of the department employees dropped their dependant coverage on their health insurance.

That, she said, will also decrease her department’s budget by $15,239.60.

Hicks said that any increases to budget line items for Fiscal Year 2015 in the Tax Commissioner’s Department will be at the sole discretion and direction of the Stephens County Board of Commissioners.

Prior to this request withdrawal, Hicks said her Fiscal Year 2015 budget was $7,519 more than in Fiscal Year 2014.

She, along with Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley, Clerk of Court Tim Quick, and Probate Judge Glenda Ernest, had submitted letters to the county commission in March stating that would seek litigation if the county commission cut their budgets by six percent as the commission initially requested of them in January.

The four said there is no way they could operate their offices if their budgets were cut six percent.

State law requires a county commission to provide constitutional officers with a reasonable budget to run their departments.

Following word of the letters, a number of speakers at public hearings held Tuesday on Stephens County’s proposed millage rate increase said they disagreed with the letters being sent.

The six percent cuts were not implemented in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget approved by county commissioners last month.