The Logan County Quorum Court, in an 11-0 vote, approved a $10.9 million county budget for 2017 Monday night, Dec. 14.
Logan County Judge Ray Gack said he was satisfied with the budget.
“I’m happy about what we got done,” he said. “We’ve got a surplus. Everyone got raises. It’s good.”
The county expects to receive $14.6 million next year. That leaves a surplus of about $3.7 million.
The budget was put together in a series of meetings of the budget committee, which includes all 11 members of the Quorum Court. The final budget meeting took place just before the Monday, Dec. 14 Quorum Court meeting at the Logan County Courthouse in Booneville.
The budget includes raises for county employees for the third year in a row, Gack said. Raises are generally $1,200 per employee but Logan County Detention Center jailers and county dispatchers are getting a little more, $2,600 each.
“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.”
The increase raises pay for those positions to $26,200 from $23,600.
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 includes $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.”