Budget squeeze strikes county road department

Falling state gas tax collections and rising maintenance costs have combined to cause a budget squeeze in the Callaway County Road and Bridge Department.

Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann said the commission last year transferred about $400,000 from the county’s general revenue fund to make up for shortfalls in the Road and Bridge Department. Although he is unsure of the amount at this point, Jungermann said the county probably will need to transfer some general revenue money again this year to the Road and Bridge Department.

High gas prices and a slow economy have prompted Missourians to buy less gasoline, causing flat or declining state gas tax collections.

Cities and counties receive a total of 30 percent of the tax revenue from the 17-cents a gallon state gas tax. A percentage of gas tax collections is distributed to cities based on the population of each city and to counties based on county road mileage and land valuation.

At the same time, Callaway County road maintenance costs have increased. The price of gasoline, lubricants, tire and equipment costs continue to climb.

County Auditor Rosemary Gannaway, who prepares the county budget, said even though the budget for 2013 will be tight she believes it will be workable.

“The Road and Bridge Department will be the biggest problem. There’s just not enough revenue to meet the needs,” Gannaway said.

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