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County budget nears $12 million

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By Calen McKinney

 

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The county will have a bit more money to operate with this coming fiscal year.

Magistrates gave their final approval to the county's 2014-2015 budget on Tuesday night, which totals nearly $11.8 million.

The new budget - about $725,000 more than this year's - contains 3-percent raises for employees and $1.8 million to blacktop county roads.

Magistrate Richard Phillips said he and his fellow magistrates worked hard on planning the county's finances.

"I am very proud of this budget," he said.

Phillips said the county has been told its budget is in the best shape ever.

Magistrate John Gaines said the county used to depend on the state for money to blacktop its roads. But now, he said, the county doesn't get as much from the state as in the past. And he said he believes it's great the county can afford to earmark $1.8 million for blacktopping.

Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers said he believes the budget is a good one and the county can operate within it.

"It's a working budget," he said.

The general fund accounts for more than $6 million, or 51 percent, of the budget.

Many of the salaries for county employees come out of the general fund. In the new budget, county employees - with the exception of elected officials - will receive the 3-percent raises. That will apply to all full- and part-time employees at the Taylor County Courthouse, detention center, animal shelter, airport and the road department, along with Taylor County's coroner and his deputies and the Taylor County Attorney secretary.

Elected officials receive a raise equivalent to the consumer price index, which this year is 1.5 percent.

Magistrates - as they have done for many years - didn't take a pay increase this year. The budget includes $68,475 to pay the six magistrates, which equates to $11,412.50 a year. Magistrates also receive $2,400 each a year to serve on various committees, along with health insurance, Social Security and retirement benefits.

A listing of county officials' salaries for the 2014-2015 fiscal year is printed in a sidebar with this story, as is a breakdown of the county's funds as listed in the new budget.

The jail fund totals nearly $3.4 million, for 29 percent of the budget.

The third largest fund - the road fund - stands at nearly $2.3 million, for 19 percent of the county's money.

On the expense side, the budget includes a $10,000 contribution to the community's renaissance program, $5,000 to Greater Campbellsville United and a $150,000 contribution to Campbellsville/Taylor County Economic Development Authority.

This year's budget, like last year's, also includes a $650,000 payment to the city for operating Campbellsville/Taylor County E-911 and EMS services.

At the end of the fiscal year, revenue and expenses for the two entities will be calculated and officials will see if the $650,000 pays for half the combined shortfall, should there be one. The county could receive money back or have to pay more depending on that total. The county has typically received money back.

On the income side of the budget, the county is estimated to receive $800,000 in real estate taxes.

Occupational tax receipts - the county's main income - is estimated to total $3.1 million this coming fiscal year.

Occupational Tax Clerk Sherry Kerr said that amount is the same as the 2013-2014 fiscal year, and is about what is actually being collected. She said there might have been new jobs created in Taylor County this fiscal year, though abatements have been given to many of those companies, which means the county won't see any occupational tax revenue from them.

The budget estimates the county will receive $200,000 in both discretionary state funding and flex funding, along with $1.1 million in county road aid.

The budget estimates the county will receive a little more than $1.1 million in revenue from housing state inmates at the detention center, the same as last year.

Other sources of estimated income for the county are property and other taxes, grants, county road aid funding, housing inmates from other counties and excess fees from the county clerk and sheriff's offices.

In reserve funding, there is an estimated $584,354 in the general fund, $244,530 in the road fund and $100,000 in the jail fund, for a total of $928,884.

On the income side, the county has budgeted it will have about $717,000 in surplus from this fiscal year. The road department is estimated to have $350,000 left from this fiscal year and the jail $300,000.

Looking at debt, the budget states that, at the end of this fiscal year, the county owes $70,686.51 on a fire truck, $3,319.21 on a backhoe and $14,550,803.31 in principal and interest on the jail.

County Treasurer Melissa Williams said she believes the 2014-2015 budget is a good and conservative estimate for each county department.

"Each department should be able to be efficient with the money allocated to them," she said.

With little funding coming from the state, Williams said, magistrates must be conservative.

" ... To make sure we have enough money for what the County is responsible for."

Buying Property

Magistrates voted during their meeting last Tuesday to sign a contract to purchase the nearly seven acres of land they agreed to buy last month from former magistrate Bobby Roots.

The property is located across from Phillips Lanes Bowling Alley on U.S. 68. It hasn't been said how the county will use the land, but Rogers mentioned it might be for a new county fire department or substation.

Magistrates agreed to buy the property for $80,000.

Magistrate Matt Pendleton voted "no" to the purchase last month, and voted "no" on Tuesday to signing the contract to formalize the purchase. He didn't explain his vote.

Before adjourning Tuesday night, magistrates discussed the purchase of additional property in closed session for 15 minutes. No action was taken.

Rogers declined to discuss any specifics about the property discussed, but said it is in addition to the Roots property.

Read about more action taken during Tuesday's meeting on Page 2 of the June 16 issue.