Commissioners adopt budget, continue building plans

Boone County Commissioners adopted their 2008-09 budget with only one change after a public hearing Monday, Sept. 8.

The only change in the proposed budget was a reduction in the unused budget authority created for next year. This amount was reduced from the original figure of $252,359 to corrected amount of $213,310.

The new $13.7 million budget represents an increase of nearly $3.7 million in total disbursements compared to last year.

Much of that increase is reflected in two new funds related to the proposed courthouse expansion project, which is budgeted at $3,031,850 over a 10-year period.

New property tax requirements include a Courthouse Bond Fund with a levy of $257,500, and a County Building Fund with a levy of $22,942.

Due to a 17.9 percent increase in the county’s valuation this year, the new budget will allow a slight reduction in the tax rate while still allowing an increase of $383,598, or 15.29 percent, in total property tax revenues compared to last year.

During the budget hearing, it was noted that the cash reserve in the Road Fund was increased from $250,000 to $450,000 to alleviate cash shortages that sometimes occur in the Road Fund. Disbursements from the Road Fund were also increased by $241,000.

Ted Thieman asked for an explanation of the $19,777 in property tax request for the 911 Emergency Fund, because no property tax money had previously been levied for this fund. Rick Martinsen, CPA, who handles budget preparation for the county, said the cash balance of this fund had declined from $111,000 to $93,000 during the fiscal year. Bob Carey, county emergency manager, noted that the county could spend $60,000 to $100,000 to participate in the reverse E911 plan with Platte County this year.

Thieman noted that the $1 per month charge on phone bills has been sufficient to provide for the 911 Emergency Fund previously.

Proposed disbursements from the Law Enforcement Fund increased by nearly $6,000 for the coming year. Sheriff Dave Spiegel said the additional funds are needed for equipment and salary increases. The Sheriff’s Department is budgeting to purchase one new vehicle, rather than a used one, this year.

Commission Chairman Hank Thieman said approval of the budget does not constitute a commitment to build the courthouse expansion, but it would allow for financing if the project is approved.

Courthouse Plans Reviewed

Later in the day, commissioners and county officials reviewed the courthouse plans with architect Larry Goldberg.

The commissioners made tentative plans to hold information meetings on the courthouse project in various Boone County towns during the week of Sept. 25 – Oct. 2.

See the Albion News Print Edition for more details.