Cape Girardeau County 2013 budget approved

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Forgoing any unanticipated drop in collection of sales tax or other revenue, Cape Girardeau County will be working with a budget picture in 2013 similar to the one seen in 2012.

The county commission, including presiding commissioner Clint Tracy and associate commissioners Paul Koeper and Charlie Herbst, unaminously approved the county's budget for general revenue and road and bridge funds at its Monday meeting.

Estimates for general revenue incomes indicate the county will have about $10.7 million to spend in 2013, plus an actual balance on hand of about $940,000. Requested expenditures for 2013 are listed at $11,545,883, which is slightly higher than the amount the county budgeted in 2012. The unencumbered balance for the year is expected to be about $154,000, which is up from 2012 because of revenue from a property tax levy county commissioners approved in September. Actual spending in 2012 for the county was just more than $10.7 million, which trends with the amounts -- about 10 percent -- spent under budget each year.

Flat sales tax revenue in recent years was cause for commissioners to levy a 0.038 cents per $100 of assessed valuation on property owners starting in 2012, which officials have said will help make up for a steadily falling unencumbered balance. The revenue from that tax is expected to raise between $400,000 and $425,000 during the year.

The total the levy has raised so far for the county is not yet available, but auditor Pete Frazier said the effect on the county budget already can be seen.

"It has already made an impact, a positive one," he said. "It gave us some of those revenues we were short on the past couple of years, and made up for some of the fees we weren't receiving."

Reduced state reimbursements for some services the county provides also have taken a bite out of its unencumbered balance each year, according to commissioners.

Changes commissioners approved Monday in the final version of the budget include increasing the annual salary of assistant prosecuting attorney Angel Woodruff from $67,529 to $76,400; increasing the annual salary of coroner John Clifton from $37,500 to $41,250 and increasing his office's annual budget by $10,000 for higher inquest costs; adding $20,000 to the circuit court Division III budget so more inmates can be placed on house arrest and monitored by ankle bracelets; funding the $4,100 cost of administration of a grant for assisting the homeless; and agreeing to purchase a replacement computer for a commissioner's office.

Sales tax revenue for 2013 is projected to come in at $6.6 million, which is the same amount the county collected in 2012.

One request for more pay -- a 2 percent raise for employees in the sheriff's department -- was rejected as the county began work on the budget in December, and was left out of the final version. Those funds would have come from Proposition 1 tax revenue, which helps fund the sheriff's department and road and bridge work.

Savings to the county in 2013 will be seen by changes made in several areas during the last year, such as the county self-funding a health insurance plan for employees.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

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