The Wilson County Commission Budget Committee selected Commissioner Mike Justice as the committee's new chairman Thursday and had a fast discussion on county fee offices giving some employees raises.
As promised, District 5 Commissioner Jerry McFarland raised the issue of how fee offices use excess fees.
County Attorney Mike Jennings researched the issue at McFarland's request.
"Fee offices are responsible to taxpayers and the voting public," Jennings told the committee.
Jennings said by state statute, fee offices may hold back as much as three month's payroll within their department with the rest turned over to the county trustee's office every quarter.
He said if they elect to have their payroll handled by the finance department, fee offices turn over all fees to the trustee. Jennings also said by law, an accounting of fees collected must be turned over to the county mayor's office "itemized and under oath."
Circuit Court Clerk Linda Neal she had been on the job for 30 years, and she had "never known any fee office to send a report to the mayor."
County Mayor Randall Hutto said he could receive the reports, but Finance Director Aaron Maynard would have to double check them.
Jennings said the county was using the same procedure for years, and state auditors never complained.
The committee moved to have fee offices hold to the letter of the law and account to the mayor under oath about collected fees.
Justice said the idea was probably to make sure "somebody has a copy of what they do."
Jennings agreed the law was designed as a "check and balance" for fee offices.
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 444-3952, ext. 45 or firstname.lastname@example.org.