CHARLESTON -- Ending fund balances are up for Mississippi County.
County Clerk Junior DeLay presented commissioners with a statement of changes in fund balances as part of a public hearing on the county's 2008 operating budget held during the regular County Commission meeting Thursday. The hearing is required before beginning the budget preparation process, according to DeLay.
"Oh-seven ended up being a very good year as far as the budget goes," DeLay said.
With an ending balance of $797,784 for 2007, the general revenue fund is up $87,242 over 2006, according to the statement. General revenue expenditures totaling $1,624,162 included transfers to other funds totaling $543,167.
The road and bridge fund is up $102,499 with a 2007 ending balance of $500,842; and the assessment fund is up $21,571 with an ending balance of $34,069 for 2007. DeLay noted on the statement that the assessment fund received a transfer of $44,667 from general revenue.
The law enforcement sales tax fund is the only fund reviewed Thursday with a negative net change. That fund ended up with $3,210 less than the 2006 ending balance at $13,542 for 2007.
Revenue for law enforcement, listed as $2,311,257, includes a transfer of $502,500 from general revenue, DeLay said. After subtracting the transfer out for comparison to 2006, revenue stayed about the same for law enforcement. "They still need to do some trimming," DeLay said of the law enforcement budget.
DeLay said an increase in revenue at the juvenile detention center was what brought the law enforcement revenue up in 2007 to match that brought in during 2006 for the fund.
Commissioner Homer Oliver said the positive net change of $46,588 in the Johnson grass fund is because the county did almost no herbicide spraying in 2007. That fund ended the year with $136,329.
Oliver said there is a lot of Johnson grass and thistles in county ditches as it has been a long time since they have been sprayed.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg asked if a person could be hired with the fund's money to do spraying.
Oliver suggested also mowing the ditches in February as this would also help combat the Johnson grass and thistles.
Commissioner Martin Lucas suggested bidding mowing contracts out in mile increments.
DeLay said these would all be acceptable "as long as it's part of the noxious weed control."
All noxious weed eradication efforts are eligible for the funding, he explained, even though the fund is commonly referred to as the "Johnson grass" fund.
Also discussed was the assessors' assessment maintenance plan but commissioners did not yet approve the plan as it includes $1,000 salary increases for assessor's office employees.
"I'm not approving $1,000 salary increases," Blumenberg said.
"It doesn't bind you; it's just a plan," DeLay said. He added that according to the State Tax Commission, if the commission doesn't approve the plan as submitted, they must submit their own plan.
Blumenberg said before approving the assessor's plan he would like DeLay to contact the STC and confirm exactly how binding the plan is.
During the review of the plan, DeLay noted the assessor spent $179,055 in 2007 which is just $135 less than budgeted.
As there is at least $3,200 in unpaid bills at the assessor's office carried over into this year, according to DeLay, the assessor actually spent $182,000, Blumenberg said.
In addition, as the assessor's office did not pay the last month of health insurance premiums for employees in 2007, there will be 13 months of insurance premiums to pay this year, according to DeLay. Adding this $1,800 payment in brings the total carryover in unpaid bills from the assessor's office in 2007 to $5,000.
In other business Thursday:
* Commissioners signed a revised contract for the county airport layout plan project.
Rodger Williams of Smith and Company in Poplar Bluff said Missouri Department of Transportation officials asked that the word "design" be removed from the contract as it is actually only a planning project.
"The money didn't change, hours didn't change; it was only wording," Williams said.
Williams also asked commissioners to figure out if there will be any changes that could be made at the airport over the next 20 years.
Blumenberg said they may possibly add a taxiway area and extend the runway although these changes are not likely with use of the airport being down.
"Interest has waned," Oliver agreed. "That may be the extent of our needs: keep what we've got and take care of it."
* Lucas said the courthouse is in need of some interior paint -- especially in the second floor hallway near the courtroom.
DeLay said there are also some doorknob holes around the courthouse from doors being swung open.
Commissioners also discussed the possibility of adding plastic or wooden trim for wall corners.