Camden County Auditor Jimmy Laughlin and other officials have been working on the budget for the last few weeks to prepare a draft proposal.

With any luck, the public hearing to present the proposed Camden County 2019 budget will not erupt into the heated brouhaha that took place last year. If all goes as planned, elected officials, employees and spectators will remain calm and avoid a spectacle while discussing the upcoming budget. 

Camden County Auditor Jimmy Laughlin and other officials have been working on the budget for the last few weeks to prepare a draft proposal. That proposal is currently available at the auditor’s office. 

The 2019 budget hearing is scheduled to for Dec. 5 from 10 a.m.  to 11:30 a.m. in the third floor conference room in the Camden County Courthouse. 

The budget hearing is required prior to approval of the budget by the Camden County Commission. The public is welcome to attend the hearing. 

The 2018 budget was in the neighborhood of approximately $46 million. More than 35 percent are pass-through funds that go to the various taxing entities but are collected and distributed by the county. 

Last year, the hearing dissolved into an hour-and-a-half long argument with accusations flying over a variety of issues that had occurred at the administrative courthouse of Camden County in 2017. Recordings of the meeting then made their way onto social media, continuing friction among some at the courthouse. 

Items of contention were tied to the budget, mainly centering on the transition of payroll to a contractor and how that impacts the clerk’s office budget and staffing as well as raises for select staff under the commission’s authority as opposed to other elected officials’ staff. Job positions being cut and saved as well as new positions added in certain department also came under debate.