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Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

Budget looks OK, with few exceptions

Friday, October 12, 2007

BENTON -- After the third quarter of the year, Scott County's expenditures remain on track with the budget, other than a few departments.

"We've got some line items that are above budget, and naturally some that are below," said Scott County Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger at Thursday's meeting. "But our biggest concern is how our revenues are going to come in compared to expenses."

The three main trouble areas are law enforcements, the coroner's office, and the E-911 program.

"The cost of law enforcement is tremendous," Burger said. The total budget is about $3.5 million.

The costs of food and boarding prisoners was higher than expected, as the jail population was higher than last year.

Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn pointed out, however, that the number of inmates has declined in the last quarter. "There were more than 100 in the first quarter, now we average 85" he said. "And it helps a great deal not having to board inmates outside of the county."

The expenditures for the coroner's office will also be higher than budgeted. "That's due to autopsies," Burger said. "Those things are uncontrollable."

Another area of concern is the county's E-911 program.

"We don't have enough revenue to keep it afloat," Burger said. "It's going to be an Achilles' heel to support it."

One reason for the loss of revenue for the program is a greater number of cell phones and lack of a 911 tax on them in the state. Equipment upgrades over the years have also depleted funds.

Missouri ranks 50th in cell phone fees assessed to support the program. And the legislature is aware of the program and has discussed it for several years, but taken no action.

"I think it's time for our state legislature to realize that we need help," Burger said.

"We don't have a lock on the problem in Scott County," Ziegenhorn added. "Everybody's got it."

Public forums are scheduled across the state to address the issue. Commissioner Ron McCormick said he received an invitation to attend one in Advance from State Representative Ellen Brandom. The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 19 at the Advance City Hall.