Madison County’s proposed 2011 budget is up two percent over this year’s. That increase will include no tax rate hike, no job losses, no employee raises and no furlough days.
The total budget is $14 million, up $323,671 from $13.69 million this year. Madison County will pull from its $325,000 contingency fund and use another $153,942 out of reserves to cover the revenue shortfall next year.
Madison County stands in good shape with its reserve balance. While tax bills are finally expected to go out on time this year, they’ve been perennially late in years past. That meant that in some years, no tax bills were sent to property owners, while in other years, property owners got hit twice. Last year, property owners paid two times, which means that more money is now in the county reserves than usual. At the end of July, the county had $6 million in its reserves.
“Of course, the amount (in reserves) will decrease monthly as the majority of the taxes have already been collected,” noted BOC finance director Kathy Clark.
The county has also conducted one tax sale this year and plans another in the fall, meaning that many delinquent taxpayers have cut checks this year, adding more money to the county’s balance.
BOC chairman Anthony Dove said he feels it’s imperative that the county maintain a strong reserve fund given the unstable economic climate. State officials suggest that county governments maintain a minimum of 15 percent of their operating budget in reserves, but 25 percent is the recommended balance. That way, counties are better able to weather economic troubles.
Clark said the county should be able to maintain the recommended fund balance through next year.
“During the current economic situation, I believe that the board is trying to hold expenditures as close to revenues as possible and with no increase in the millage rate,” said Clark. “With this being the case, there probably should not be a great increase or decrease; therefore, the fund balance should remain close to the suggested 25 percent.”
This year’s two-percent increase includes no new big-ticket items. The primary new expense comes at the county jail, where the board received a request for four full-time jailers. The BOC agreed to fund three part-time jailers, at a total cost of $76,000. The county also saw increase in health insurance costs, $60,000. The commissioners, who cut five days of employee holiday pay this year, agreed to add those days back to the budget in 2011, at a total cost of $112,000.
“We felt the employees did a good job last year of saving money and putting us in the black,” said Dove.
The county will also see increased expenses in postage and training next year in order to comply with new property tax assessment laws. The zoning department will see increases for a comprehensive plan update. The local public defender’s budget and forestry budget were also increased due to state budget actions.
“There was a lot of stuff that the state is passing down to the counties, no big increases, just some rising costs,” said Dove.
The Madison County Board of Commissioners will meet Thursday, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the public meeting room of the government complex. The purpose of this meeting is for citizens’ input on the 2011 proposed budget. Next year’s budget is available for review at the county commissioners’ office in the government complex.
That is a downright weird location for a "funeral home." Something suspicious was always up with that church and their members, too. Not sure what was going on, but never seemed above board. I don't think anyone is upset with that shady place being shut down.
The church never should have been put there. I said at the time to wait and see, it won't last, and no telling what will end up there. And, lo and behold, the weirdo church has bailed and look what we got: funeral home!