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Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

Commission: Budget looks good for now

Friday, July 13, 2007

BENTON -- Based on six-month budget reports, Scott County's expenses are more or less in line for the year.

"Overall I feel pretty good about the budget," Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger said. "I think our department heads and elected officials have been very conscientious about not buying unnecessary items."

Most of the departments were right on track or under budget. However, the coroner's office and jail were over budget.

The county is like any other business and can't anticipate certain expenses, and have to go by numbers from the previous year, Burger said.

"Autopsy and lab fees are greater than what we anticipated," said Commissioner Ron McCormick. "That's something where we never know what we're going to have."

At the jail, expenditures for supply and repairs are up. Last year, just over $106,000 was spent, and about $72,000 has already been spent this year.

"You just can't control the things that break down or the number of prisoners that are in there," McCormick said.

"Naturally, as the jail gets older, our repairs and upkeep will increase," Burger added.

Supply is dictated by the number of inmates, and the jail has been filled to capacity a majority of the time.

"We'll know next year how to budget if it's a full house," Commissioner Dennis Zeigenhorn pointed out.

However, medical costs were down. Commissioners attributed that to the in-

house medical care initiated about two years ago. "We have very few visits outside the confinement of our facility," Burger said.

A full jail can be a double-edged sword. "We want and the public wants when (people) are arrested to keep them off the streets," Burger said. "But that doesn't come without cost."

At County Developer Joel Evans' recommendation, seven appointments were made to the Enhanced Enterprise Zone. This board will determine boundaries, rates, and other regulations for the area designed to attract business.

The appointees were: Terry Cole of Sikeston, appointed to a four-year term; Chap Arnold of Scott City for a four-year term; Joy Cauthorn of Sikeston for a three-year term; Steve Whitaker of Chaffee for a three-year term; Bud Morton of Sikeston for a two-year term; Mitch Wood of Oran for a five-year term to represent the schools; and Larry Chasteen of Oran for a five-year term to represent all the countie's tax entities.

"I think we've got a well-rounded group," Burger said.

At the meeting, Evans presented commissioners with a draft of the drug testing policy, modeled after others.

Evans told commissioners about half of his cell phone calls are for county business, and asked if he could receive money for that, since his office funds are below budget.

"It's kind of an important tool," he said.

Burger agreed. "People know you're always around then."

Commissioners told Evans he could be reimbursed a flat $25 fee per month, the same process used in the assessor's office.

Ziegenhorn said Tuesday's meeting with Salcedo residents who want water hookups went well. Seven of the 10 households attended.

After several questions, residents appeared to think the plan was favorable, so the grant application process to offset some fees will begin soon.

"Of course they didn't like the cost, but they understood," Ziegenhorn said.

A commitment will be needed soon, and upfront payments by Jan. 1.