The Logan County Quorum Court was expected to approve a $10.9 million budget for 2017 when it met Monday night in Booneville.
Logan County Judge Ray Gack said passage of the spending plan was “likely” because all 11 Justices of the Peace are members of the county budget committee which put the plan together in a series of meetings held in the last week. A final budget committee meeting was scheduled Monday at 6 p.m. before the Quorum Court meeting which began at 7 p.m.
“I can’t see anything that would hold it up,” Gack said last week. “I’m happy with everything in it.”
The budget includes raises for county employees for the third year in a row, Gack said. Raises are generally $1,200 per employee but County Detention Center jailers and county dispatchers are going to get a little more, the county judge said last week.
“Right now, they are the lowest paid county employees,” Gack said. “So they are going to try and get them a little more of a raise. Hopefully, it will entice people to take those jobs. Right now, they are paid $23,000 a year and I think they are going to try to raise that to $25,000. That’s a $1,400 raise.”
The 2017 budget also shows that county revenues have remained healthy for the last three years, finally shaking off the negative impact from the Great Recession.
“Property tax receipts have improved and sales tax revenues have improved in the last few years,” Gack said. “Business conditions have improved and that’s reflected in the increases in sales tax revenue.”
One of the key components to putting the budget together is a projection of sales tax receipts. County Treasurer Mickey Oates said she is projecting sales tax receipts of $1.1 million next year. That’s the same amount of sales tax receipts for this year. The county levies a 1 percent sales tax that is split between the county and incorporated communities. Beginning next year, the county will charge a 1 percent sales tax, proceeds from which will be used to build and operate a new, 100-bed county jail. Voters overwhelmingly approved that increase in August.
In addition to that, revenue from the county’s Emergency Medical Service has been healthy.
“The ambulance service is bringing in a lot of money,” Gack said. “We’re going to try and get a new ambulance next year. The revenue is good and the number of runs we’re making is excellent. The problem is we can’t find paramedics. There’s a shortage of paramedics all across the state.”
Gack also said the addition earlier this year of a third ambulance crew has improved response times.
Gack also said the 2017 budget is going to include $85,000 for repairs to the bell and clock tower at the Logan County Courthouse in Paris.
“The bell tower is decaying fast,” he said. “We’ll do as much work as $85,000 will pay for. We’re also going to try to get some grant money to make repairs to the columns at the Paris courthouse.”
Here is a breakdown of 2017 proposed spending, compared to 2016 spending in major county departments:
County General Fund: The proposal calls for spending $120,890 compared to 2016’s $134,759.
County Clerk: The proposal calls for spending $213,700, compared to 2016’s $183,136.
Circuit Clerk: The proposal calls for spending $283,284, compared to 2016’s $275,007.
County Treasurer: The proposal calls for spending $111,834, compared to 2016’s $105,660.
Tax Collector: The proposal calls for spending $241,320, compared to 2016’s $231,190.
Tax Assessor: The proposal calls for spending $348,865, compared to 2016’s $333,545.
County Buildings: The proposal calls for spending $249,958, compared to 2016’s $163,750.
County Sheriff: The proposal calls for spending $1.1 million, compared to 2016’s $1 million.
County Detention Center: The proposal calls for spending $679,000, compared to 2016’s $580,160.
Office of Emergency Management: The proposal calls for spending $101,556, compared to 2016’s $108,216.
County Road Fund: The proposal calls for spending $2.589 million, compared to 2016’s $2.5 million.
Emergency Medical Services: The proposal calls for spending $1.5 million, compared to 2016’s $1.3 million.