Monday, October 29, 2012
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County gets past bond approval period, moves proposed 2013 budget to display

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[October 29, 2012]  The Logan County Board met for a special meeting on Oct. 26. This was a continuation of the reconvened board meeting from Oct. 16, and there was only one issue to vote on.

After a long and difficult process, the board is finally ready to post a budget for display purposes for the next fiscal year. This has proven to be especially difficult this year due to the issue of selling bonds.

Previously, the county had sold bonds in order to pay for the development of infrastructure that would bring Sysco to Lincoln.

For the last two months, the board has been looking into selling alternate revenue bonds to finance the criminal cases line item in the upcoming budget.

The current bonds were among the final touches needed by the finance committee in order to submit a budget for display.

However, since the selling of this type of bond does not require a referendum, a 30-day petition period was established in order to provide the public with the opportunity to send the bonds to the next referendum.

Previously, because of the possibility of needing to go to referendum for the bond issue, two budgets were drafted by the finance committee.

The first budget, titled Plan A, included the bonds as part of the criminal case line item. A figure of $700,000 was set at the Oct. 11 board of whole meeting. That figure is subject to change as the finance committee investigates just how much money they believe will be needed for that line item next year.

The second budget, titled Plan B, included $600,000 in the same line item. The difference is that the $600,000 would come out of tax levies from the health department, the ambulance services, the senior citizens tax and the Cooperative Extension program. As a result, those operations would have been severely limited in finances, which would result in layoffs and program terminations.

While a petition was taken out, the petition period ended on Oct. 25 with no petition turned in to the county offices. Because of this development, finance chairman Chuck Ruben was able to make a motion to the county board that Plan A be put on display for the next 30 days.

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Before the budget could be voted on, Ruben elaborated on a change that would occur before it is posted. The budget for the state's attorney's office will be changed. The finance committee adjustment of $47,000 would result in a reduction of staffing to bring in a balanced budget for that office. It was therefore recommended by Jonathan Wright that this number be changed to $25,000.

This change would also affect the new county budget as a whole. "That does remove $22,000 from our budget. We had an $8,000 cushion. We would now be $14,000 in the hole," Ruben said. He also said that he believes there is a sufficient revenue cushion present from other funds to make up for the imbalance. The change was unanimously approved.

As for the actual vote on the posting of the budget Plan A, the motion passed 11-1, with only Pat O'Neill opposing the proposed budget posting.

There will be a change in the meeting date for the reconvened board meeting in November. This is due to a scheduling conflict with David Pistorius of First Midstate. First Midstate is the company that will be selling the bonds on behalf of the county. Pistorius needs to be present at the meeting in order to finalize the paperwork. A tentative date was set for Nov. 29, but that may change since it is the night of the holiday parade.

Board members present for the meeting were chairman Robert Farmer, David Hepler, Terry Carlton, Andy Anderson, Rick Aylesworth, Kevin Bateman, Bill Martin, Pat O'Neill, Gene Rohlfs, Chuck Ruben, Andy Meister and Jan Schumacher.


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