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News : Grundy County Commission Addresses Several Issues At Latest Meeting
Posted by Randy on 2014/1/29 10:50:00 (498 reads) News by the same author

Grundy County Commissioners are thanking county departments for holding down expenditures again last year. That is one of the factors for Grundy County taking in more revenue than it spent in 2013.

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The budget approved by the Commission last January showed anticipated expenses for 2013 surpassing projected revenue by nearly $393,000. As it turned out, there was a sizable positive swing. Revenues surpassed expenditures by more than $117,000 last calendar year, which is the county's fiscal year. That swing was nearly $510,000.

Grundy County budget figures typically change from the beginning to the end of the fiscal year---often for the better. Budgets contain funds for emergencies and unanticipated expenses. So, when that money is not spent, the budget picture improves. In addition, budgets improve when county employees hold down costs in their departments.

A key factor in the positive budget swing last year involved the Charlie Dye bridge. Some $100,000 budgeted last year towards the replacement of that bridge was not spent. Presiding Commissioner, Rick Hull, explained the County will not have to provide a local match for the project. It originally was believed the County would need to allocate funds for the replacement. It's not known yet whether Grundy County will need to provide money, and then be reimbursed.

Other factors contributing towards the positive budget swing were not spending $40,000 budgeted for emergencies, and revenues were $45,000 greater than budgeted. Sales tax receipts were greater than anticipated, ambulance service revenues were $25,000 higher than projected, and income was up on what the County receives for the recovery of bad checks.

As a result of all of that, Grundy County enters this fiscal year with net available cash of nearly $2,192,00. That's up about $117,000 compared to last year at this time.

Grundy County Commissioners this morning adopted a budget for this calendar year in which spending is estimated to top projected income by more than $246,000.

Total expenditures are estimated around $4,867,000. The budget again contains emergency and maintenance funds not expected to be spent. Various departments typically make requests at budget time for contingency funds in case they're needed, rather than coming back later in the year asking for more. However, Associate Commissioner Joe Brinser, said the departments have proven in the past they only spend what they need.

Presiding Commissioner, Rick Hull, indicated he feels good about the County's financial picture, calling it extremely healthy.

However, Associate Commissioner, Brinser, expressed some concern about the need to spend nearly $100,000 of reserves in the road and bridge fund. If that holds true, the estimated cash balance for the special road and bridge fund at the end of this year would be around $296,000. Brinser and Hull mentioned there were no grants last year for bridges. It was noted bridge grants are drying up.

The County is allocating $180,000 for cart rock again this year. Fuel tax allocations from the State are used for the gravel. There was general discussion about Missouri Department of Transportation funding shortfalls. Associate Commissioner, Gene Wyant, also pointed to the effects of more fuel efficient vehicles resulting in less fuel tax money.

$80,000 is budgeted this year in Grundy County for structural steel and $30,000 for tubes. There's money for at least 2 bridges to be constructed this year, although the number of bridge projects has not been finalized.

$30,000 is budgeted to be transferred from the ambulance fund to the emergency 911 account if necessary. It was noted a transfer of ambulance service funds to the 911 account was not necessary last year.

A budget message from County Clerk, Betty Spickard, said the State is mandating juvenile office personnel have legal counsel in the courtroom, and State Court offices require new equipment at the County's expense. She said those factors add an expense to the budget to create a larger deficit to the budget.

Mrs. Spickard said the only large items of purchase this year are a possible vehicle for the Sheriff's Department, a skid loader for the Road and Bridge Department, and building and grounds upkeep and repairs.

The budget includes a 2% increase in wages for non-elected county employees. Salaries for the elected county employees remain the same.

$10,000 was allocated towards the cost of a skid loader.

The Sheriff's Department decides on vehicle purchases using non-general revenue sources.

A graveled parking lot and storage shed are budgeted behind the Grundy County Detention Center. It's expected to cost $4,000 to $10,000. The storage shed is for a backup ambulance and trailers used to haul election equipment and for local Emergency Planning Committee needs.

Roof and possible inside repairs at the courthouse are budgeted at less than $5,000.

A metal detector for court room proceedings is being considered at the request of Associate Judge, Steve Hudson. The potential cost is around $5,000, although a grant was sought. The device would need to be manned.

$20,000 has been allocated to University of Missouri Extension, the same as in the past.

Grundy County is allocating $2100 toward the cost for a company to provide information on companies that might be interested in locating in this area. Trenton Community Developer, Ralph Boots, during Monday night's City Council meeting, expressed appreciation for the County Commission's contribution. Boots mentioned the economic development efforts also are partially funded by the communities of Bethany, Albany, and Maryville.

As the City of Trenton looks for ways to fund its operations, there has been limited remarks in the past at the city level about the possibility of approaching the County Commission to seek financial assistance for economic development efforts done by the City.

County Commissioners indicated today they've been informally approached about that possibility. Commissioners noted the County would help out this year with the $2100 allocation for the company Locator Service and see how it goes. It was mentioned Community Developer, Boots, seemed happy with the County's allocation.

On the topic of the County local option use tax proposal on the April ballot, if the proposal is approved by voters, the tax money would be used for general revenue.

The proposal would continue an existing 1 1/2% county tax on out-of-state purchases of vehicles, and when privately-sold vehicles are licensed. Commissioners say it also would require a 1 1/2%percent county tax on other out of state purchases totaling over $2000 in a calendar year. That last one would affect mainly businesses which make large purchases.

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