The Caldwell County Fiscal Court approved the first reading of the budget Tuesday for the 2020-21 fiscal year totaling about $6.9 million.

The court met through conference call. A breakdown for the fiscal year 2021 budget was:

• General fund: $2.6 million.

• Road department: $1.7 million.

• Jail: $1 million

• Local government economic assistance: $275,596

• Sheriff’s office: $1.1 million

• Total: $6,876,075

The proposed budget marks a 6.1% decrease from this year’s budget, set at $7.33 million at its first reading last May.

Judge-Executive Larry Curling said there were a number of cuts to next year’s budget.

“This budget is smaller than our last budget,” he said. “We had to make some cuts simply because we’re not getting the funding that we did last year.

“Our road fund is being cut over $80,000, and chances are it’s going to be cut more simply for the fact that our taxes come from the gas tax and people aren’t driving as much.”

Curling added that the low cost of gasoline is not affecting the revenue as much because it has a limit as to how low it can go.

Curling said the budget requires approval of a second reading by the fiscal court, but there are other steps it has to take first.

“We’ve got to send it off to the state and they will make changes if they need to be made,” he said. “Normally, it comes back OK. They’ll send it back and we’ll have a second reading.”

The 2020-21 budget takes effect July 1.

The fiscal court also approved extending the contract with ComCare ambulance service by two months. It was set to expire at the end of June.

“We put a two-month extension on it simply because of what’s going on with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Curling said. “ComCare probably couldn’t get their bids together because of that.

“We put it out for bid. Last year, I think, they were the only company to bid on it. We’ll probably put it out for bid in July.”