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Alabama Forward: State cuts force county to make spending cuts

By By PAUL KEANE – Special to The Standard
Inadvertantly, the lost revenue and cuts in state government are being felt at the county level. The difference is that state regulations require that counties do certain things, whether the funding is there or not.
The State Legislature dictates the number of positions which must be filled in a county courthouse and administration. Whether funding is available or not, those positions must be filled.
For years, officials in the education field have struggled with similar regulations, calling them "unfunded mandates." Escambia County Administrator Tony Sanks says it just means making cuts in other areas.
Sanks said while counties aren't suffering as deep of cuts as state government -- relying heavily on ad valorem taxes and sharing in state sales taxes and oil and gas revenues that can't be reduced by the legislature -- there are some cuts being made in order to keep the state-mandated number of jobs filled.
Sanks said the state has also cut some funding in the form of ADECA grants, meaning that decisions on delaying some purchases and projects have and are continuing to be made.
The main brunt of the cuts may not be felt until next fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1, Sanks added.