County’s budget still work in progress

Published 11:59 pm Monday, September 14, 2009

There are a lot of “blank lines and unknowns” remaining in the proposed 2009-2010 county budget, county administrator Brenda Petty said Monday during the county’s first — and possibly only — budget workshop.

Once adopted, it will be the first budget under the newly established unit system, where the operation and maintenance of the county’s roads and bridges fall under the responsibility of the county engineer, not the road commissioner. The commission voted for the move earlier this year.

Petty said that operational costs of the four road districts, which in years past operated under an individualized budget, are now combined into one expenditure budget.

“With this move to the unit system, there are a lot of things that I need help figuring out,” Petty said. “That’s why you see those blank lines. I’ve figured the things like salaries and insurance, things we know that aren’t going to change.

“For example, if you look at electricity, that line is blank,” she said. “That’s because I don’t know what shop is going to stay open, which are going to close — that sort of thing.

“There are a lot of variables. That’s why this is a rough draft and there are blank lines,” she said.

Petty said at present there is a surplus in the general fund, a fact attributed to reduction of expenses and no cost of living adjustments for employees.

“There’s not a COLA in this budget, and there’s no overtime — except that reimbursed by (Federal Emergency Management Agency),” she said. “We’ve cut $200,000 at the arena, $80,000 at the (Pt. A) park, and it has to be because of these things we’re showing a surplus in the general fund, and that’s even with an increase in health insurance being absorbed by the county.”

General fund revenues are estimated at $7.12 million for the upcoming fiscal year; gas tax revenue, $2 million; road and bridges revenue, $963,400; public highway and traffic fund, $1.11 million; and RRR fund, $1.15 million.

Petty said it is unknown how much revenue can be budgeted to the FEMA fund. County engineer Darren Capps said he plans to meet with FEMA officials this week for an update on funding.

Expenditure highlights include:

Commission office: $900,800

Probate judge: $627,900

Revenue commissioner: $327,700

Economic development commission: $256,100

Courthouse maintenance: $217,200

Sheriff: $1.3 million

Jail: $1.4 million

Emergency Management Agency: $100,800

Health Department: $121,500

Covington Area Transit System: $213,800

Petty and Capps said they plan to meet this week to “finish out” the budget and will meet one-on-one to discuss it with the commissioners. The new fiscal year budget should be adopted Wed., Sept. 30.