Grundy County Commission approves challenging budget for 2024

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The Grundy County Commission approved a deficit budget for January 30, 2024. The budget estimates total revenues at $9,248,095.62 and total expenditures at $10,345,096.52, projecting a balance deficit of $1,097,000.90.

The county begins the year with carryover funds amounting to $3,753,284.01, estimating an ending balance of $2,656,283.11.

In November, the Salary Commission recommended a three percent cost of living adjustment for Grundy County elected officials. During the budgetary period, Presiding Commissioner Phillip Ray announced the adjustment was reduced to zero. Commissioner Don Sager stated the county lacked the necessary funds for the adjustment.

Ray mentioned that other pay increases depend on individual elected officials’ decisions.

Key projects for 2024 include the construction of four bridges, two of which have already been contracted. Weidel is undertaking a bridge project on Northeast 122nd Street in Myers Township for $896,172.25, expected to be completed by the end of April. C and C Contracting is working on a bridge on Northwest 110th Street in Washington Township for $388,527, with completion anticipated this week, weather permitting. The remaining two bridge projects, located in Marion and Liberty townships, are currently in the planning and engineering stages.

The commission noted that these bridge projects are partially funded by federal funds, typically requiring a local match of 8 to 12 percent. The commission plans for a 10 percent match. Ray described this as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to construct the bridges at such costs.

Additionally, Phase 2 of the Streambank Stabilization at the Thompson River is included in the budget and is in the planning stage. This project will receive funding from Housing and Urban Development.

Plans are also underway to purchase a new all-wheel drive ambulance for Grundy County and to install a new phone system at a reduced cost compared to current expenses.

The budget allocated for grounds improvements has been reduced.

Regarding the half-cent sales taxes, $525,000 is budgeted for general revenue and the general revenue sales tax fund, which partially supports the Grundy County Ambulance. An allocation of $500,000 is set for law enforcement. In the previous year, $500,000 was budgeted for each sales tax, with actual receipts exceeding $553,500 for each.

The 2023 budget closed with total revenues of $5,562,012.61 and total expenditures of $6,168,805.44, resulting in a deficit of $606,792.83. Last year’s budget anticipated a deficit of $2,029,289.26.

Grundy County, a Class 3 county, faces budget challenges. Ray highlighted that approximately 100 Class 3 counties in Missouri are struggling with budgets heavily impacted by state legislation and unfunded mandates. He expressed concern over the counties being burdened with the financial responsibility of these mandates.

Sager remarked that the commission made every possible cut in this year’s budget.

Ray concluded by noting his dissatisfaction with the budget both at the beginning of the process and throughout the year.

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