- How to save a life: Lifeguards resuscitated young girl at Cape Splash (8/17/17)2
- Woman's post about 'Back the Blue' sign in Jackson coffee shop prompts firing from nearby bar (8/15/17)11
- Chaffee man charged with attempting to have ex-wife killed (8/20/17)3
- Former Chaffee officer faces DWI charge (8/20/17)2
- Scott City school chief gets raise, while some teachers don't (8/17/17)6
- PBS crew filming in Cape; Glenn House to be featured (8/17/17)
- Jumbo size: Rhodes 101 sets a world record with 15-foot, 4,700 gallon drinking cup (8/21/17)3
- Scott City Council reinstates police chief (8/16/17)1
- Unions deliver signatures to block right-to-work in Missouri (8/20/17)40
- Woman dies in house fire in Cape Girardeau County (8/16/17)
For years, Cape Girardeau County annually salted away hundreds of thousands of dollars into its reserve fund thanks to economic prosperity and conservative budgeting. One year the county took in $1 million more than it spent. The result was a $5 million reserve in the late 1990s.
Those years are gone with the economic boom, and this year county commissioners expect to spend more than tax revenue brings in.
The $10.8 million in funds available to the county this year includes a $650,000 balance from 2003. The county plans to spend $10.5 million on revenue of $10.2 million.
So it is that the $810,000 brought in by housing prisoners -- federal and from other counties -- last year and the expectation of making as much this year have become important ingredients in the county's budget stew.
How much of the $810,000 is profit is difficult to determine because the county has to maintain its jail and a jail staff no matter how many prisoners are incarcerated. But reimbursements for prisoners are making the $450,000 annual payments on the bonds that paid for the jail expansion and then some.
Income from the jail is disbursed into the general fund but provides a substantial offset to the sheriff's department budget of $3.16 million. The sheriff's department and jail account for nearly one-third of the county's overall budget excluding bridge and road expenditures.
Sheriff John Jordan wants the county commission to allow him more freedom to decide how his budget is spent. The commission's decision last month to give the sheriff the extra help he said he needed to maintain a lucrative contract with the U.S. Marshal's Service is an indication that the commission is willing to work with county officeholders on financial matters while preserving the county's fiscal prudence.