NEW MADRID - The good news in the New Madrid County budget for 2006 is listed No. 1 - anticipated revenues are going up.
The 2006 projected general revenues are $4,451,700 and New Madrid County Clerk Clement Cravens noted in his budget message this is approximately $1.5 million more than was collected in 2005. "Most of this increase can be attributed to an additional one-half cent sales tax which will become effective April 1 and will generate approximately $970,000 of additional sales tax revenue for the remainder of the year," he stated.
Of the money generated approximately $242,000, or 25 percent, will be shared with the 15 incorporated cities within the county. The tax money will go to the state, which in turn distributes funds on a quarterly basis to the county.
General revenue expenditures are estimated in the budget at $4,566,255.19. Total expenditures for the coming year are $10,634,652.36.
Cravens said with the increase in revenues, the commissioners approved several projects previously on hold due to lack of funding. Commissioners have asked the sheriff's department to establish a vehicle purchasing schedule to allow for the replacement of the fleet on a gradual yet steady basis. He said plans call for the replacement this year of four cars with the aid of grants, which pay 55 percent of the cost of the vehicles with the county picking up the remainder of the cost.
"The jail is in need of internal repairs," said Cravens, adding work will be done on the building.
One of the concerns addressed in the budget message was the revenue shortfall for the E-911 fund. The commissioners allotted a $50,000 transfer from the general revenue fund. "I feel like somewhere along the line this must be addressed by new legislation or it is going to be a real problem," said Cravens.
Cravens' office also has money budgeted for new election equipment in order for the county to comply with the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which requires the county election system to meet the needs of the disabled.
A $230,000 grant will fund a new central tabulation machine, which Cravens said should be five-times faster than the old tabulation machine. He expects the new tabulation machine to be used for the August primary.
Also a major project for the county in 2006 will be the beginning of improvements to the county airport paid for primarily with a Missouri Department of Transportation grant. Cravens said the Airport Committee has come up with the changes and work should begin soon, starting with an extension of the runway enabling larger planes to land and take off at the airport, located near Marston.
The Road and Bridge Fund is beginning the year with a balance on hand of $1,630,506.54, which is approximately $42,000 less than last year. Expenditures from the fund are projected at $2,985,000 which includes $900,000 for bridge replacement projects under the federal off-systems bridge program.
Currently the Road and Bridge Department has a 15-year purchase plan in place and the county has allotted $200,000 in the budget for new equipment, continuing the replacement of older, worn out equipment.
By law the county is required to budget 3 percent of its anticipated revenues as an emergency fund. Cravens pointed out in his budget message this $135,000 has never been utilized by the county due to sufficient surplus revenue.
In closing his budget statement, Cravens said county officials "historically estimate revenue very conservatively while overestimating expenditures in certain budgets to handle any unforeseen expenditures that may occur." He projected the overestimated expenditures at about "$400,000 in the 35 budgets within the general revenue fund" and, if the conservative approach is followed and expenditures are approximately 10 percent less than in the past, the budget could have a surplus of $400,000 at year's end.
Estimated revenues total $16,117,544.19. The revenue fund totals are: General Revenue, $6,312,994.22; Special Road and Bridge Fund, $4,472.206.54; Assessment Fund, $623,738.04; Law Enforcement Training Fund, $18,526.15; Prosecuting Attorney Training Fund, $1.625.26; Johnson Grass Fund, $130,317.87; Recorder's Special Fund, $32,330.05; CIA Fund, $23,608.89; Domestic Violence Fund, $920; Prosecuting Attorney Check Collection Fund, $111,714.03; Post Fund, $6,556.14; Sheltered Workshop Fund, $191,016.50; Fees of Other Funds, $8,767.67; 911E Fund, $185,858.01; Prosecuting Attorney Delinquent Fund, $1; Law Enforcement Restitution Fund, $36,819.02; Tax Maintenance Fund, $21,0000; Ambulance Fund, $1,369,123.79; Library Fund, $1,095,825.84; Health Department Fund, $1,471,575.17; and Election Services Fund, $3,000.
Expenditures for 2006 will total $10,634,562.36. This breaks down as follows: General Revenue Fund, $4,566,255.19; Special Road and Bridge Fund, $2,985,000; Assessment Fund, $399,132.03; Law Enforcement Training Fund, $7,500; Prosecuting Attorney Training Fund, $1,600; Johnson Grass Fund, $82,250; Recorder's Special Fund, $19,600; CIA Fund, $14,000; Domestic Violence Fund, $920; Prosecuting Attorney Check Collection Fund, $19,850; Post Fund, $6,556.14; Sheltered Workshop Fund, $104,344; Fees of Other Fund, $0; 911E Fund, $183,250; Prosecuting Attorney Delinquent Fund, $0; Law Enforcement Restitution Fund, $15,000; Tax Maintenance Fund, $21,000; Ambulance Fund, $933,745; Library Fund, $429,250; Health Department Fund, $843,310; and Election Services Fund, $2,000.