It took four attempts, several substitutions and some last-minute deals before county supervisors adopted an $86 million budget for the new year on Tuesday.

Supervisors voted 3-1 to adopt the new budget, with District 2 Supervisor Trey Baxter voting against. District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin was absent from the meeting.

Board President David Bishop led the charge on the budget, ultimately conceding to District 1 Supervisor Sheila Jones on several points of contention ranging from $50,000 for a lobbyist to $500,000 for Reunion Interchange.

Bishop and District 3 Supervisor Gerald Steen initially tried to move over half of a mill in taxes from the general fund to the road maintenance fund, but Jones and Baxter were against that.

Jones said she was worried the county would be sued because of its settlement agreement with Lost Rabbit.

“The way they’re paid is tied to our millage,” she said. “I don’t want to do anything to interfere with the settlement agreement…result in possible litigation.”

Steen said that was his concern and why he voted against the Lost Rabbit settlement, but the county didn’t guarantee a set millage and they can change it at-will. He said the money generated would give cities more money to do paving projects.

Bishop also sought to give Planning & Zoning Director Carl Allen a $10,000 raise, with other county employees receiving a 4-percent increase.

Steen initially seconded Bishop’s first attempt to pass a budget but it ended in a 2-2 stalemate.

Baxter presented a budget entirely different from Bishop’s, one that initially would have lowered taxes by 1 mill and pumped $2.5 million into asphalt.

Baxter said his budget consisted of reductions in “inflated line items,” such as $150,000 per year for Road Department insurance and fidelity bonds. He said those cost the county less than $40,000 per year. He also said he found $40,000 in savings for engineering fees in Planning & Zoning.

Baxter’s budget did not include giving Allen a raise and it did not include fully funding the Madison County Economic Development Authority at $1.258 million. His budget for MCEDA was approximately $770,000.

Jones seconded Baxter’s motion for further discussion, ultimately increasing the budget for Citizen Services Agency at her request.

She brought up concerns about a tax decrease, too, in light of Lost Rabbit, before ultimately voting with Baxter on his budget. That motion also ended in a 2-2 stalemate.

It was then back to the drawing board as both Baxter and Bishop lobbied for Jones’ vote.

Bishop decided to pull his request to hire a lobbyist to help secure state funding for the Reunion Interchange, but that vote ended 2-2 as well.

Baxter then proposed no tax cuts, but instead using 1 mill for short-term borrowing to widen Gluckstadt Road and fix Weisenberger Road’s flooding problems.

“We’re headed for a traffic crisis,” he said.

County Administrator Shelton Vance said the 1 mill would generate nearly $1.4 million per year and could go towards short-term debt if that was the wish of the board.

Bishop said widening Gluckstadt Road wouldn’t fix the traffic situation and they need to focus on more ways to move cars to the interstate.

“Just widening one road I don’t think is the option,” he said.

With nearly $16 million in reserves sitting in the bank, Baxter said it makes sense to give a tax cut. But, he said he could forego the tax cut for a commitment to solve the traffic crisis.

Bishop said he didn’t want to name specific roads so Jones said to take out Reunion Interchange then.

“If we’re not going to talk about roads, let’s take them all out,” she said.

Steen added, “That’s a good idea. Let’s do that and move forward.”

Baxter then responded, “We’re not gonna address alleviating traffic concerns in Gluckstadt?”

Bishop removed $500,000 for Reunion Interchange from his budget proposal, ultimately making a $10,000 raise for Allen his only request left before Jones and Steen voted to adopt the budget.