The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 14, 1998 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, May 14, 1998
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Page 4
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THURSDAY, MAY 14, 1998 GREAT PLAINS THE SALINA JOURNAL T SALINE COUNTY COMMISSION Step one: Officials agree to spend $14.7 million in '99 Saline County officials will focus on how to allocate money; 1999 budget will be , finalized in August By SHARON MONTAGUE Tlie Salina Journal It's the first step in the county's budgeting process, but it's an important one. During meetings this week, county officials agreed upon the amount of money they'll have to spend in 1999 — $14,726,435, up about $526,000 from the amount of revenue budgeted for this year. That amount covers only departments that aren't subject to a state- imposed tax lid. Officials now will work to decide how to spend the pot. The budget will be finalized in mid-August. County Administrator David Criswell said the next step will be calculating the amount that will be needed to cover pay increases,and deciding how much of a reserve commissioners want to build in. The SHERIFF'S BUDGET ADVISORY COMMITTEE county's auditor, Tom Sykes of the public accounting firm Bartlett, Steele & Edgerle of Hutchinson, suggests a reserve of 20 percent of the county's general fund. Criswell said he'll subtract the known liabilities — such as the amount of money needed for salaries and the reserve — before calculating target total budget amounts for each departments. Those targets will be approved by commissioners before being sent to department heads, who will develop line-item budgets. Rita Deister, assistant county administrator and personnel director, noted that the revenue estimates are conservative. The projection is near- CRISWELL ly $2.7 million less than the amount of money collected in 1997, according to unaudited 1997 figures. "Tom (Sykes) wants to be conservative because there's a chance the economy will turn. Interest rates could increase," Deister said. Deister and other members of the county's revenue projection committee originally had projected that $2.8 million in sales tax revenue would flow into county coffers in 1999. Sykes recommended the amount be lowered to $2.215 million, the same amount projected for 1998 and about $450,000 less than 1997 collections. "We always over-estimate expenditures and under-budget revenue," Deister said. Commission Chairman Deane Allen noted that it might be prudent to be conservative with revenue projections. "There is a lot of concern about what will happen to the economy, with the Asian crisis," Allen said. One source that is expected to generate increased revenue in 1999 is the 4-H Building in Kenwood Park. Workers currently are installing air conditioning in the building, so the county should reap more money from rental during the summer. The revenue projection for county building rental for 1999 is $91,000, up from $80,000 this year. And the estimated revenue to be derived from the Saline County Jail is down from this year. The city's share of the cost is expected to decrease from about $208,200 this year to $161,394 in 1999. Criswell said the city's share will decrease because, with an increased population hi the jail, the cost per prisoner has decreased. "It lowers everyone's costs when there are more inmates," Criswell said. Officials expect to take in more in property tax revenue in 1999 -L $4,894,398 as opposed to the $4,653,370 budgeted for 1998 — assuming'-Jha;t the county levies a tax of 15 mills to support departments that don't fail under the state-imposed budget cap) Additional mills would be levied to pay for such things as employee benefits, district court, mental health programs and the Saline County Juvenile Detention Center, which don't fall under the state-imposed cap. ' Deister cautioned that the county will be limited to increasing its property tax collections by the amount of new construction in the county. >. ; She said Rod Broberg, county appraiser, estimated that the county'is total assessed value, on which the tax levy is based, would increase to $322,488,223. Final estimates of • the assessed value aren't due until July 1, after taxpayer appeals of appraised values are completed. ••• ; IPanel aims to provide answers ito sheriff's budget troubles S Committee hopes to ;present a realistic plan ifor 1999 by June 12 <By SHARON MONTAGUE ; The Salina Journal r I Their work is just beginning, ibut after three meetings, one •thing seems evident to members i of Sheriff Glen Kochanowski's [budget advisory committee: the (sheriffs budget is out of whack. | At a session Wednesday, com- i mittee members discussed how the ! amount of money needed for pris- loner meals could be more accu- j rately figured; why overtime hours ! were so high in the Saline County ;Jail and what could be done; and jhow more money could be raised i for the sheriffs patrol and admin', istration divisions and the jail. ) The committee hopes by June 12 | — the date county department bud- j gets are due in the county adminis- ! trator's office — to develop a real- t istic budget for the office for 1999. | Kochanowski formed the com- l mittee after refusing to participate 'with Saline County commissioners in developing a "scope of services" for an efficiency study of ^he department. Commissioners asked for the survey after studying past budgets that showed that the department budget had been overspent in nine of the past 10 years. Larry Dunlap, a member of the committee, said Wednesday that he'd studied spending in the sheriffs office in 1995, 1996 and 1997 and determined that if the office is to meet budget in 1999, its authority would have to be increased by about 6 percent. 6 percent hike suggested Noting that the total amount budgeted in 1997 was nearly the same as the amount budgeted in 1998, Dunlap said the 6 percent increase for 1999 would amount to a 3 percent increase per year for the two years. "It doesn't seem to be out of line with what any business would expect," Dunlap said. Dunlap, citing prisoner meals, said certain line items would need to be increased significantly. Meal expenses amounted to $101,000 in 1995, $125,000 in 1996 and $159,000 in 1997, yet only $98,000 was budgeted for prisoner meals for 1998. "We know the number of prisoners has increased," Dunlap said. "That's not a number that can be left flat." Kochanowski noted that budgeters could more accurately predict the cost of prisoner meals by multiplying the average daily cost of meals ($2.70) by the average daily population (about 165 this year) and the number of days in the year. If more money is needed to fund the sheriffs office, where will it come from? The county is subject to a state-imposed cap that limits the amount of money that can be raised through property taxes. Dana Morse, a former county administrator who now works for Blue Beacon International, said he'd investigated that end of the equation. Certain expenses, such as employee benefits and district court, are exempt from the lid. Morse said county commissioners could have exempted the county's 2-mill bridge construction levy from the tax lid but chose not to. If that levy were taken out from under the lid, commissioners would have another 2 mills of taxing authority and, thus, more money to spend on the sheriffs office and other departments that are subject to the lid. Medical expenses for jail inmates also could be exempted from the lid through county home- rule authority, Morse said. "If we can come up with a realistic budget and convince commissioners to fund it, there is room under the lid to do it," Morse said. OF FREE* PROGRAMMING From Pegasus, DIRECTV*, and USSB 5 ,„ . I KM*, bVf fi;|MS fjfUum for $ 1 99, Mffascribe to MMCIY and g«4 ov«r $1OO el FUI programming. DIRECTV and USSB, you get: ^fFQver 200 channels nels • Up to 55 pay per view movie choices each night _** • Digital-cpalty picture and sound SEE YOUR LOCAL DIRECTV DEALER TODAY OR CALL 888-643-4052. u.&&•!•<«.frMfcMJnv PEGASUS SATELLITE TELEVISION Dl RECTV. f j. , UJJO QHWIUBillBIII UIWISBQ , 0 jit— TW*- vmwmat HH»uira, IMJI vw.vw WIKIA.II I luyutumiu laiRLUIG}. MiuuillBU, LRIUiU, ICH1Q and comtons ifea Hii <ha« tetrad ond WMBSBJ ail society USSB, U.S. Soft** BraxfasirQ. US?B trtetamenlUSTm! 1KB Big <^ BUSINESS EQUIPMENT AUCTION WALNUT & OAK EXECUTIVE DESKS AND CREDENZAS, LEGAL AND LETTER! SIZE VERTICAL FILES, STEELCASE & HERMAN MILLER EXECUTIVE CHAIRS, STEELCASE BOOKCASES, 233 MMX PENTIUM PC 4 - 75 & 90 MgHtz, PENTIUM PCs, 6-486 PCs, NOTEBOOK PC, HP IID LASER PRINTER, 24 PIN & GRAPHICS PRINTERS j THURSDAY, MAY 14TH-6 P.M. : ; RED COACH INN - SALINA, KS _ : OUTSTANDING EXECUTIVE EQUIPMENT ., ? 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