County budget approval put on hold

Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Saline County Auditor Tara Vogelsmeier reads a statement notifying the Saline County Commission of her objections to the proposed 2007 Saline County revenue budget during a public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 17.

No Saline County budget was approved following a hearing Wednesday, Jan. 17. Additionally, the Saline County Commission was told there is a concern that the budget has included a jail sales tax that hasn't been voted on by the people.

The hearing to discuss the 2007 Saline County Budget was held in the Saline County Commission chambers at the courthouse in Marshall.

Originally the commission was set to approve the budget immediately following the hearing, but Saline County Presiding Commissioner Becky Plattner announced that the budget approval would be postponed until, Thursday, Jan. 25.

"Today we are not approving the budget," Plattner said, "due to the time factor. We've been in agreement to move it to Jan. 25."

During the public hearing Saline County Auditor Tara Vogelsmeier addressed the commission. Vogelsmeier read a prepared statement expressing concern over the inclusion of the proposed jail sales tax in the proposed budget.

"I wish to refer to the discussions we had yesterday (Tuesday, Jan. 16) concerning the 2007 revenue budget. As mentioned during these discussions, I have serious reservations and objections about the proposed jail sales tax which has been included in the proposed 2007 revenue budget.

"In light of the above, I feel projections as they are in your proposed budget are prematurely optimistic. I would request that this increase be amended in the next 2007 budget hearing and that the 2007 budget only be increased as and when the proposed jail sales tax becomes reality," Vogelsmeier said.

Vogelsmeier's objection concerns a proposed sales tax to fund the Saline County Sheriff's Department and Criminal Jusice Center. The department currently operates on funds from the Saline County general revenue fund and a 1/2 cent sales tax that voters approved in 1995.

That tax is set to expire on Oct. 1, 2007. On Oct. 25, 2006, Sheriff Wally George told The Marshall Democrat-News that he anticipated asking for a 1/2 cent sales tax to be instituted for the continued operation of the department.

Vogelsmeier expressed concern over including the revenue in the 2007 budget when the tax has yet to be approved by voters.

George is on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

Contact Zach Sims at marshallbusiness@socket.net

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