The Texas County Commission last week approved a $3.4 million general revenue budget that outlines spending for the upcoming year.
The fiscal blueprint’s total reflects lower expenditures because the county won’t be responsible for administering as many elections, said County Clerk Don Troutman, budget officer. The total is down about $125,000 from the 2010 budget.
The document outlines increased costs for utilities, fuel and health insurance provided to employees.
The county’s three half-cent sales taxes pay the lion’s share of operational costs. Each is estimated to bring in $925,000. The county does not levy a property tax – instead the county’s 17 townships collect one. Of the three taxes, one is used to retire debt for construction of the county justice center and other improvements. It stood at $13.22 million at year’s end.
Troutman said state reimbursement is lagging in several areas: election expenses, reimbursement for housing prisoners and costs associated with operating the public defender system in the judicial circuit.
“It greatly concerns me that revenues are not keeping pace with expenditures,” said Troutman.
For the most part, office budgets remained unchanged from the previous year, Troutman said. Most county employees received a raise.
“Texas County government is very fortunate that no county employees were forced to be laid off due to the downward financial condition of the country and state,” he said. “Many other Missouri counties have had to make major cuts in their employee workforce.”
As in past years, law enforcement costs ($445,497 for the sheriff’s department) and administration of the county jail make up a good portion of the expenditures. The latter is expected to cost about $780,000 to operate. The county has 40 different accounting funds to track expenditures: Ranging from law enforcement training to a bad check fund for the prosecutor’s office.