Grundy County Commission approves deficit budget for 2023

Grundy County Commission Sign

The Grundy County Commission approved a deficit budget for 2023 on January 24th. The budget estimates total revenues of $7,254,406 and total expenditures of $9,283,695.26. A balance deficit of $2,029,289.26 is anticipated.

The county begins the year with carryover funds of $4,350,973.61. The estimated ending balance is $2,321,684.35.

Presiding Commissioner Phillip Ray reported there will be no reduction in county employee wages. He noted the budget is set before salaries are.

Ray said “inflation is eating us alive,” and the cost of living is getting higher. He commented the number one concern with elected officials was wages because of inflation.

The prosecuting attorney is now considered full-time instead of part-time. His pay and retirement costs increased by about $111,000 to $150,035, with $11,628 for retirement annually. The increase was made up from general revenue. Ray noted the prosecuting attorney’s salary is now the same as the associate judge’s salary, however, the judge’s salary is paid by the state, and the prosecuting attorney’s salary is paid by the county.

The 2023 budget also includes a 3% increase in health insurance for Grundy County employees.

Ray reported American Rescue Plan Act funds received last year totaling $800,658 are to be spent this year. The county waited until it had the money in its possession before spending it.

The ARPA funds are to be spent on transportation and bridges with less than a 25% local match. The county will pay for engineering, and there will be a 0% match on construction costs. Ray said that is much like Federal Emergency Management Agency projects.

ARPA money is specifically to go toward four bridges with 12% local match estimates. The bridges are on Northeast 122nd Street, Northwest 110th Street, Northeast 62nd Street, and Southwest 50th Street. The estimated cost of Northeast 122nd Street is $738,000. The estimated cost of the bridge on Northwest 110th Street is $372,000, and the county cost is $25,959. The cost of the bridge on Northeast 62nd Street has not yet been determined. Work on the bridge on Southwest 50th Street has been carried over from 2021 and 2022 money.

Ray reported other capital projects including courthouse improvements, work on electricity, and remodeling.

A sheriff’s office vehicle is expected to be bought and outfitted using drug task force seizure money.

Five hundred thousand dollars is budgeted for each half-cent sales tax. Those are for general revenue, law enforcement, and tax fund to benefit the ambulance service. The same amount was budgeted last year, and about $550,000 was actually received for each.

The 2022 budget ended with total revenues of $7,330,283.55 and total expenditures of $8,172,880.57. That left a deficit of $842,597.02. The county budgeted last year to have a deficit of $1,801,391.

County Commissioner Brad Chumbley said elected officials did a good job of bringing budget proposals to the Grundy County Commission for 2023 that the commission could work with. He added that when the commission trimmed some from the budget, the elected officials said they understood and would make it work.

Ray said the commission cut about $1 million from the budget from where it started. He explained services are not being sacrificed; they are being trimmed down.

County Commissioner Don Sager commented that there was nothing out of line with what elected officials proposed.