Work on new county budget begins

Posted 11/7/19

By Tim Schmidt Record Managing Editor Despite sales tax revenue far exceeding projections, Warren County commissioners said they will remain conservative when drafting a new budget. County officials …

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Work on new county budget begins


Record Managing EditorDespite sales tax revenue far exceeding projections, Warren County commissioners said they will remain conservative when drafting a new budget.County officials this week began meeting individually with many of the county department heads and other elected officials.The budget, which runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, must be adopted by the end of January, according to state statute.“I believe we have to go on the conservative side,” Northern District Commissioner Dan Hampson said.Heading into the individual meetings, commissioners said they anticipate a smooth process. The financial outlook also appears promising.Commissioners on Monday acknowledged that many of the county departments did not spend their full budgets, allowing the reserve balances to climb.“I think we want to stay very conservative,” Southern District Commissioner Hubie Kluesner said. “You don’t feel you have to cut everybody to the bare bones. Everybody is programmed to be conservative and it’s helping us.”For 2015, the county received $1,482,652.83 in sales tax revenue from the three-half-cent sales taxes (general revenue, law enforcement and capital improvement). Of that amount, $77,383.70 was from the use tax.The overall sales tax figure was $80,844.43 more than the budgeted amount of $1,401,808.40.Sales tax revenue has been increasing in recent years. The county collected $1,366,140.94 in 2014 and $1,278,637.84 in 2013 from sales taxes, according to officials.“Some of it has to be credited to the Greater Warren County Economic Development Council,” Kluesner said. “Without them bringing in businesses, it would not be climbing.”When asked if pay raises for county employees can be expected, commissioners said that decision will be made at a later date.“It’s way too early,” Kluesner remarked.In 2015, county employees, excluding elected officials, received a 3 percent pay raise. The increase in compensation was the largest employees have received in several years. In 2014, employees received a 1 percent or 25-cent hourly pay increase, whichever was greater. No raises were given in 2013, while a 2 percent or 25-cent hourly increase was agreed upon in 2012.The county will be proceeding with two bridge projects in 2016 that could not be completed this year, commissioners said. New bridges will be constructed on Lost Creek Road and Massas Creek Road, both of which will replace concrete slabs.Eighty percent of the cost will be funded from MoDOT’s bridge replacement and rehabilitation program (BRO), with the remaining 20 percent to be the county’s responsibility. Earlier this year, the county’s portion was expected to be cost less than $142,000, with the overall project cost estimated at $714,000.Warren County Administration Building