by Ivan Foley
A 1.5% pay raise for all county workers.
That is what is included in the 2015 Platte County budget proposed by county commissioners. The commission’s proposed budget was released Friday morning.
The 1.5% raise, politically termed a “cost of living allowance” by the county, is less than what had been proposed by Kevin Robinson, county auditor, in the budget that he proposed for the county commission to consider. Robinson had recommended a 3% raise. County commissioners have final say on all budget matters.
In addition to the 1.5% across the board raise, county commissioners also propose allocating an additional $87,000 to the sheriff’s department to be used for pay increases for commissioned law enforcement officers.
The county commission will host a public hearing on its proposed budget during its next meeting, which is set for Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. on the second floor of the county administration building in Platte City.
As far as revenues, the county commission budgeted much more conservatively than Robinson had recommended. Sales tax revenue came in much stronger than had been anticipated in 2014, rising by 10% while use tax revenue dropped. The county auditor had recommended budgeting a two percent decrease in sales tax revenue in 2015.
The 2014 combined sales/use tax actual receipts had come in at 5% above 2013. County commissioners chose to budget the 2014 budgeted amount. This means the county commission budgets 2015 revenue at about $12.4 million as opposed to the actual $13 million that came in during 2014.
Other changes the commission made from Robinson’s recommended budget include adding $100,000 to the capital improvements fund with the intent to use it toward an architectural study of the jail futures area. The futures area of the jail is the basement of the facility, which was originally planned to be used for future expansion when the jail was built in the 1990s.
A jail committee last year looked hard at the basement as a possible area for expansion of jail beds, but any funding to put toward studying the issue in detail was denied by the county commission last summer. The jail committee ended up recommending that no immediate jail expansion was necessary, and its request to have the county commission propose to voters a dual-question ballot proposal to realign the half cent park tax to allow a portion to go toward law enforcement was denied by the county commission.
The county commission is getting closer to reality in budgeting operating revenue projections for Shiloh Springs, the county-owned golf course. Last year’s operating revenue came in at $474,000. Robinson had projected it would come in at $709,000.
This year in the county commission’s proposed budget, income at Shiloh is $492,000.
If that number proves to be accurate, it would be the first time in several years the operating revenue at Shiloh has increased. In 2012, Shiloh operating revenue was $555,000, in 2013 it was $483,000 and last year $474,000.