Grundy County Commission adopts deficit budget for fiscal year 2022

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The Grundy County Commission adopted a deficit budget for 2022 on January 31st. The budget estimates total revenues of $7,218,191 and expenditures of $9,019,582. A balance deficit of $1,801,391 is expected for 2022.

The county begins the year with carryover funds of $5,297,100.98. The estimated ending balance is $3,495,709.98.

In her budget message, Grundy County Clerk Betty Spickard reported this year’s budget includes wage increases of $1 per hour to stay compliant with new minimum wages. Adjustments were made to sheriff’s deputies and emergency responder salaries to stay comparable to surrounding counties.

Presiding Commissioner Phillip Ray said emergency medical services employees got a raise of seven to nine percent, depending on job rank. Emergency medical technician basic has a base pay of $12.30 per hour and paramedic of $15.30 per hour. Seventy-five thousand dollars is budgeted for the ambulance director’s position.

Ray explained the county will continue to pay Ambulance Director Steve Tracy the same rate it has been for the part-time position. Ray noted the commission is still advertising for a full-time ambulance director. It was previously reported the ambulance director position would switch from part-time to full-time. Tracy was invited to apply for the full-time position.

Ray reported deputies got a raise of 13 to 14.5% on base pay. The base is $30,056 for a deputy plus $1,200 annually through supplemental deputy salary.

The 2022 budget also includes a 2.97% increase in medical insurance. Liability, property, and worker’s compensation insurances also increased.

New courthouse doors were again added to the budget. Ray said the county had not yet paid for the doors because the work is not yet completed. He commented the contractor told him that the work should be done soon. Other building repairs and upgrades are also included in the budget.

Other items budgeted for include the 911 system upgrade and a new type III ambulance. Antennas are to be put on the water towers at Spickard and Laredo related to emergency services communications. Ray noted one ambulance ordered last year was delivered last week, and another one ordered has not yet been delivered. No changes were made to a rental agreement involving the ambulance being housed at the Trenton-owned fire complex.

Spickard reported spending of the American Rescue Plan Act grant is included in the budget. Grundy County received $956,623.50 of ARPA funds in 2021, which is half of the project money. The rest of the ARPA funds are to come in 2022, which is another $956,623.50.

County Commissioner Don Sager noted it is the commission’s intent to use all of the ARPA funds for infrastructure. Three bridges budgeted for last year were not built, and they are expected to be built this year and paid for using ARPA funds. Those bridges are on Southwest 86th Avenue, Northeast 30th Street, and Northwest 60th Street.

Spickard explained finalizing of the Thompson River Bank Stabilization project is also included in the budget. She said the project was a wash with money received and spent at $45,236.75.

Ray said the commission was concerned about the general revenue ending balance. It is projected at $1,615.72. Spickard noted that when the sales tax goes up, tax levies go down. It was also noted sales tax revenues were up in 2021 despite COVID-19. Four hundred seventy-five thousand dollars were budgeted last year for each half-cent tax for general revenue, ambulance, and law enforcement funds. Each received more than $528,500. For 2022, $500,000 is budgeted for each sales tax fund.

Spickard reported the 2021 budget ended with a balance of $1,382,632.95 for revenues to expenditures. The 2021 budget was amended for ARPA and the Thompson River Bank Stabilization project. Without the two amendments, Grundy County would have been at an ending balance of $426,009.45 for 2021. The county budgeted to be at a deficit of $1,192,179.

Sager commented the county plans for the worst and hopes for the best.

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