More than $3.4 million advertised by county
With recent discussion of county funds being in the red for two different departments, it begs the question as to what state the county finances are in.
During the last council meeting on June 11, county council members were advised that the health department funds are in the negative of about $16,300. Previous to that the maintenance department also had a line item in the red and maintenance director Jeff Johnston was unsure if the contractors would be paid on time.
Since February, the county council has approved to advertise $3,403,590.31. Of those funds, some were unexpected costs such as the hospital asking for $96,000 from the cumulative building fund to cover the costs of a project, $80,000 from the library improvement reserve funds to cover the costs of water damage, and $1,316,750 for the highway department road projects. A majority of that $1,316,750 is funding from the Community Crossing grant and is considered an additional appropriation because the funding was not part of the annual budget. It also appears that $167,000 for building and structure repair was published twice.
During an interview on Monday, council president Jay Sullivan said the county is not going to meet the state submitted budget of $18,081,155.48.
“As far as the finances in the county, we are fine. We have enough money to cover this stuff and I knew we did,” Sullivan said. “Hopefully we will get back to where we can actually meet the budget and not have to dip into any of the county reserves. That is the goal that we are trying to get to for the coming year.”
The county has one of the highest income tax rates in the state at 3.38 percent but it also has one of the lower property tax rates, according to Sullivan. Sullivan would like for property taxes to be raised on farm ground and personal property, not on corporations.
If the property tax rates are changed then it has to be done now to be able to collect an increase in funds next year.