Lawrence County Auditor requests a 2021 budget line item increase

LAWRENCE CO. – The Lawrence County Auditor Jessica Staggs requested an additional $40,000 for phone and internet services for the end of the 2021 budget year.

This request would make the second year in a row for the additional appropriation for the county’s communication line-item.

This includes both phone service, internet providers, and fax services for all of the county offices.

In 2020, the cost for services was $107,550.47 and so far $75,381.26 has been paid out in these services which may end the year with approximately $115,000 in costs.

The Lawrence County Council members inquired about how many fax machines are used by the county offices, that information could not be provided at the time of inquiry.

Lawrence County Auditor Jessica Staggs will conduct research and investigate further to obtain information on how offices use their fax machines and whether all the fax machines in county offices are needed.

“We may be able to save money if some of these offices no longer use fax machines, as many now are using email for their communication needs,” said Staggs.

In the Lawrence County Council meeting Tuesday night, Sheriff Mike Branham told the council that his department used to pay for their own phone lines but it has since been shifted to the county for payment. Also, the sheriff advised the council that his office still uses the fax machines for warrant service.

The county uses six different providers for these services which include ESI Hosted services, AT&T for both local and long distant services, Century Link, Smithville Communication, RTC Communications, and Century Link.

In some county offices, the phones operate off an internet service instead of an actual landline according to Staggs.

“We have started the process of looking at all aspects of the county’s communications in phone, internet and just recently switched to google for email services because of security concerns,” said Staggs.

“The Lawrence County Council will be updated at a later time on our findings,” said Staggs.

The budget process for the county generally begins around the end of August through the month of September. During this time the 2021 budget will be closely analyzed to help determine the operational needs when creating the 2022 annual budget.

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