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Approved Boone County budget reflects harsh economic environment

Friday, December 17, 2010 | 5:26 p.m. CST; updated 9:47 p.m. CST, Saturday, December 18, 2010

COLUMBIA — Boone County commissioners approved on Thursday a nearly $50 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Expenditures are projected to exceed revenue for the fourth consecutive year, requiring the county to dip into the reserve budget again. The coming fiscal year will require more money from this fund than in previous years: more than $6 million compared to just less than $2 million during the 2010 fiscal year.

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Boone County Auditor June Pitchford said the upcoming year’s budget, for $48,758,279, reflects a continuation of the reductions made in 2010.

“General budgetary policy is to hold the line, as far as spending is concerned, as we weather the economic storm,” Pitchford said.

Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin echoed this sentiment.

“We’ve had to cut a little bit deeper, but they’re adaptations we need to make to live within our means,” Elkin said. “By state law, we have to meet our budget.”

Elkin cites pressure coming from unfunded and partially funded state mandates as part of the reason for the tighter budget. For example, this year the state cut funding to county prisons housing state prisoners. He estimates the cuts have cost the county as much as $1 million.

The tighter budget also comes as a result of the economic recession at large. According to the proposed budget released by Pitchford in November, the county’s most significant revenue source, the sales tax, has been greatly affected. Sales tax revenue accounts for almost 60 percent of all county government funds.

Here is a breakdown of where all government funds will come from in the next fiscal year:

  • 60 percent from sales taxes.
  • 10 percent from property taxes.
  • 13 percent from charges for services.
  • 9 percent from federal and state grants, as well as annual state appropriations.
  • 4 percent from hospital lease.
  • 3 percent from sources classified as “other.”
  • 1 percent from interest.

Here is a brief breakdown of the budget:

  •  37 percent of total expenditures for law enforcement and judicial costs.
  • 34 percent of total expenditures for environment, buildings and infrastructure costs.
  • 20 percent of total expenditures for policy and administration costs.
  • 3 percent of total expenditures for community health and public services.
  • 3 percent of total expenditures for other expenses.
  • 2 percent of total expenditures for capital outlay, including appropriations for new and replacement machines, vehicles and computer hardware and software.
  • 1 percent of total expenditures for debt services.

For the full report, go to www.showmeboone.com.


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