County commission makes line item adjustments to budget during hearing

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

In a special budget hearing Tuesday, several county budget items were increased to show higher-than-expected revenue while others changed to reflect increased costs.

"The purpose of this meeting is to make some adjustments to the budget," said Presiding Commissioner Becky Plattner in opening the session. The 11 people present, most of whom were officeholders, had no comment. The revised budget was approved on a 2-0 vote, with Northern District Commissioner Richard Pemberton absent.

The planned sale of plat books, which show land ownership in the county, added $4,783 to anticipated revenue for the county, and the same amount for anticipated costs.

Revenue expected from the prosecuting attorney's delinquent tax fund increased by $9,750 over the initial budget. And two grants awarded to the county's juvenile office, one for public safety and the other a youth court grant, increased its budgeted revenue from $0 to $32,395.95. Expenses for the juvenile office were also adjusted to reflect an increase of $35,754.91.

Predicted collector's fees for the county increased from $7,307 to $17,500, with expenditures likewise increased by $10,193.

Southern District Commissioner Mike Dillon said the tax collector fees and subsequent fund were created last August from a state statute awarding a fee for collecting back taxes. Commissioners had to guess how much would be collected and spent. "Revenue is higher than expected, so we had to raise the expense side," he said. "By law, your revenue and expense need to even out. You don't have to spend it, you just have to budget it."

The commission moved $3,200 in anticipated revenue from the general revenue fund to the assessment fund and likewise moved $3,200 in budgeted expenses from the contingent reserve fund to the assessment fund for postage and Internet connection fees.

On the expense side of the ledger, the commission decreased the emergency fund (from $62,878) by $12,500 and increased the contingent reserve fund (from $16,822) by the same amount.

The commission redistributed expenses of the contingent reserve fund into other funds for postage, telephone and Internet fees in amounts of $532 for the county collector's office, $196 for the county clerk, $1,300 for the prosecuting attorney, $248 for the computer room, $248 for the county auditor and $2,812 for the county recorder.

The county recorder's office expenses included $2,500 for a part-time employee, and the $532 increase for the county collector's office included a 10-cent an hour salary increase for the chief deputy and a $68 postage box rental.

The prosecuting attorney's office budget was adjusted to reflect expenditures of $13,000 on computers and other equipment.

In its regular session Tuesday, the commission approved hiring Jesse Lee James of Slater as a Saline County Sheriff's Department jail officer June 9 at a rate of $19,750 a year, which will increase to $20,250 after six months and $20,750 after one year.

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