Scott County budget dips into reserves

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

BENTON, Mo. -- Scott County Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger calls this year's Scott County budget "solid."

"All in all I feel pretty confident about what we've done in this budget," Burger said at Tuesday morning's public hearing on the budget at the Scott County Courthouse. "There's always going to be unknown variables, but barring something unforeseen happening we're solid."

The county commission held its public hearing over the budget and passed the document unanimously. Only one person other than government officials and news media attended the hearing -- Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce Director Missy Marshall.

In expenditures and estimated revenue the 2008 budget looks similar to the one passed in 2007. The county estimates bringing in about $3.3 million for its general revenue funding, with expenditures estimated at about $4.5 million.

The difference in revenue and expenditures comes from money held in reserve, of which about $1.35 was carried over from unspent general revenue money in 2007.

This year the county's sales tax revenue for law enforcement will drop from about $1.75 million in 2007 to $1.35 million. That drop is attributed to the expiration of the county's half-cent sales tax for law enforcement, set to expire in September.

The county will also pay the final bond payment for the jail built in 2000 with sales tax financing this year at a cost of $780,000.

Commissioners and County Clerk Rita Milam, the county's chief budget officer, were able to make up for the loss of about $400,000 in a number of ways, like an estimated $75,000 increase in state fees for prisoner room and board, and law enforcement fund projected revenue are actually higher than those of 2007.

A large carry over of unused budgeted general revenue funds from last year -- $1.35 million -- provided some extra money during budgeting, but if all the budgeted funds are spent this year, only $204,000 of that money will remain.

Burger called the budget "realistic."

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