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Commission plans to complete county budget by end of week

Don Norfleet/FULTON SUN photo: Members of the Callaway County Commission Tuesday discuss the 2011 county budget with Callaway County Auditor Rosemary Gannaway. Members of the commission are, from left, Eastern District Commissioner Gabe Craighead, newly elected Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann, and Western District Commissioner Doc Kritzer.

Don Norfleet/FULTON SUN photo: Members of the Callaway County Commission Tuesday discuss the 2011 county budget with Callaway County Auditor Rosemary Gannaway. Members of the commission are, from left, Eastern District Commissioner Gabe Craighead, newly elected Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann, and Western District Commissioner Doc Kritzer.

Gary Jungermann, the newly-elected Callaway County presiding commissioner, set a goal Tuesday of completing work on the county’s 2011 budget by the end of this week.

Jungermann said the budget needs to be wrapped up quickly in order to publish public notice advertisements in advance of a public hearing on the budget.

All three commissioners have indicated they support a pay increase this year for county employees.

“I believe a 3 percent increase for county employees is possible at this point,” Jungermann said.

County Auditor Rosemary Gannaway, who acts as the county’s chief budget officer, said county sales tax collections are running about $180,000 ahead of expectations.

“Originally, we had estimated $3 million in sales tax revenue for 2010. But it came in at $3,180,000,” Gannaway said.

She said sales tax collections were estimated to drop because of the economic downturn.

County sales revenue collections in 2008 were $3.39 million. In 2009 collections fell to $3.15 million. Expecting another decline, Gannaway earlier estimated collections at $3 million. She was pleased when sales tax collections were higher than expected.

Western District Commissioner Doc Kritzer said Callaway County real estate and personal property taxes are also estimated to increase about $150,000.

With income increasing $330,000, the county has some flexibility but still must find items to cut because requests from various departments and office holders were up about $440,000.

The county has about $3 million remaining in reserves after planned expenses.

Gannaway said it is prudent to have reserves for emergencies. She noted new roofs were put on the county’s law enforcement center and the courthouse recently and a new roof may be needed soon on the County Health Department and County Extension office building.

“We need to be extremely cautious in spending our reserves,” Gannaway said.

The group worked all day Tuesday on the budget.

They discussed a wide variety of fine-tuning issues, including whether to make some positions full time or part time as well as federal and state grants.

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