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No growth in sales tax expected

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

Platte County's 2009 recommended budget has been announced and is ready to be discussed by the commission after being released by the county auditor on Friday.

The new budget is projecting a decrease in revenues of nearly three percent and an increase in the budget of nearly three percent.

According to the budget message, written by Siobhann Williams, auditor, sales tax revenue increased by 1.7 percent in 2008 but is not expected to increase in 2009.

The county is expected to have more than $3.5 million in cash carry over from the 2008 budget. Of this amount, about $1.5 million could be spent in 2009. Some of it will be spent on projects that were actually begun in 2008 and have had to be carried over to 2009 because the projects are not complete, such as waterproofing of the courthouse and new windows in the courthouse. And about $650,000 of that $1.5 million will be transferred to a capital projects fund, which does not yet have any specific projects.

Because of a change in the county’s purchase order system, Williams said any purchase orders still open from 2008 were closed and new purchase orders will be created in 2009, so the expenses are bumped into the 2009 budget.

“Those would not normally be handled as cash carry over,” said Williams. “Because of the change we had to re-budget (the expenses).”

The remaining $2 million in cash carry over is the normal cash carry over amount for the county, according to Platte County Presiding Commissioner Betty Knight.

During November, Williams released a preliminary auditor- recommended budget featuring a salary increase for county employees of two percent. The commissioners were upset by the inclusion of the increase before the budget process.

The current budget does not include a percentage salary increase, according to Betty Knight, presiding commissioner.

Knight said the county is covering an increase in the employee health insurance premiums. The increase is between $200,000 and $225,000 according to Knight.

“We've been very careful to see what the economy will do in the next six months,” said Knight.
According to Knight, the budget can still be changed by the commission before it is approved at the end of the month.

The commission will hold a public hearing on the budget during the Thursday, Jan. 29 meeting at 2 p.m.



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