The first topic was about the budget itself and the various changes
that are still being made to it. The figures that committee chairman
Chuck Ruben presented on Tuesday were the fourth draft of the
potential 2013 budget.
Since the last finance meeting, the budget
has been changed due to upcoming expenditures the county will have
to face. As a result, the draft presented would leave the county
with a deficit of $104,870.
The large expenditure added to the budget was the initial cost
required to sell bonds for the major criminal cases line item. The
$1 million that is predicted to be needed will be split into four
separate contingencies: $350,000, $100,000, $150,000 and $400,000.
Ruben explained that this will reflect the fact that none of the
funds will be specifically dedicated to any one specific item within
the court cases.
An example of one area of the budget that is feeling the
financial crunch is the Logan County Department of Public Health,
specifically, the testing and treatment of tuberculosis. As of the
current budget draft, the health department is sitting at $43,000,
but tuberculosis is very expensive to treat and test for.
In order to attempt to swing such a deficit in the opposite
direction, Ruben said he looked at both the expenditures and the
revenues for next year.
"Revenues are hard to predict, and I'm always leery of raising
them," said Ruben.
However, upon examination of the actual revenue in the past
years, Ruben noted that it was considerably higher in some areas
than was predicted. Because of this trend, he recommended that the
county increase the projected revenue figures in the hopes that the
actual revenue still comes out higher.
For example, in 2010, the replacement tax collected was $50,000
higher than predicted. The same was seen with the 0.25 percent sales
Ruben commented that because the finance committee has already
increased the projected revenue of the public safety tax, he does
not think adjusting it further will be necessary, and it would be
too risky to try and then over-predict the revenue.
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The increased predicted revenue of these areas from 2010,
combined with other actual revenue figures, including the circuit
clerk's office and photo-processing fees, brought the total to
$310,000. Ruben believes that just over half of that, or $160,000,
can safely be put into the budget as predicted revenue.
"I don't think we'll be over-budgeting the revenues, and I would
just assume to under-budget if possible," said Ruben.
If the county adds that money to the revenue and then the deficit
is taken away, that would leave the county with a small remainder of
around $55,000. "That's not a lot," he said.
As to what the remainder could possibly be used for, the topic of
potential employee raises was brought forward once again. In order
to determine just how much it would cost to give raises to all of
the nonunion, not elected or appointed employees, Ruben calculated
the total amount that they are receiving now, and that is just under
$1.2 million. "One percent amounts to $12,000," he said.
With the remainder left over, the county could afford to give a 2
percent raise to those employees, which would total around $24,000.
However, that would not be even close to what is considered a good
fund balance, which would be around a third of the total budget.
Committee members present were Chuck Ruben, chairman; Dave Hepler;
Bob Farmer; Jan Schumacher; and Rick Aylesworth. Guests included
Vicki Dugan, county treasurer; Mary Kelley, circuit clerk; and Sally
[By DEREK HURLEY]