latte County’s proposed bud-get for 2003 shows that some cuts have been made in the general fund.
Sandra Thomas, county auditor, this week said the proposed budgeted general fund expenditures in 2003 are $13.9 million, down from $14.6 million in 2002.
“The most notable thing is that the golf course is being transferred to the parks fund now,” Thomas said, a move that reduces general fund expenditures by more than half a million dollars.
Transferring the debt and lease payments for the Shiloh Springs Golf Course to parks and recreation will take a load off the county’s general fund. Thomas said the bond payment for the golf course is $388,351 and the lease payment is $116,884 , both of which will be paid with money from the county’s parks and recreation sales tax. In the past, the debt payment and the lease payment had both come from the general fund, she said.
Thomas said after the half million is paid out in bond and lease expenses, she expects revenues generated by the golf course to cover all other operating expenditures incurred by the course, with likely some revenue to spare.
Golf course employees will become county employees and all payments and receipts will be handled in the same way as all other county funds.
Sales tax revenues for the county remain strong. The county’s half cent sales tax for the general fund brought in $5.3 million in 2002, up more than 7% from the previous year, Thomas said.
For 2003, the county is budgeting $5.6 million in general fund sales tax revenues, a conservative 5% estimated increase, Thomas said.
Overall, sales tax revenues account for 40% of general fund income.
The county also has a half cent sales tax dedicated to parks and recreation. The park tax brought in $5.1 million in 2002, and the estimate for 2003 is nearly $5.5 million.
Thomas explained that the slight difference in revenues for the half cent general tax and the half cent park tax is due to a time lag involving late payments.
In 2002, the county spent $2,058,992 on park land acquisition. The 2003 budget includes $2,650,000 for land acquisition.
In addition to land acquisition, the county has budgeted $2,322,105 for land improvements and capital improvements.
The county is in the process of purchasing a building in the I-29 corridor. The building, which will be known as the Platte County Resource Center, will be financed with leaseholder revenue bonds anticipated to be in the amount of $3,450,000 and financed over 20 years. The net funds estimated to be in the amount of $3,006,450 will be used to purchase the building and make improvements to it. The office space will house several county agencies including the University Extension, Platte County Economic Development Council, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and Senior Services.
Property tax revenues rose by 3.2% in 2002 and provided only 11% of the revenues for the general fund. The tax levy was reduced from 12 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to 10 cents for the 2002 tax year. For this reason, property tax revenues remain flat for the 2003 budget.
SALARIES GOING UP The proposed budget lists a 3% salary increase for county employees, though “some departments might see a small deviation from that,” Thomas said.
Officeholders will also see a 3% salary increase. Most officeholders will make $60,765 in 2003. The associate county commissioners by statute are paid $2,000 less than the presiding commissioner, which means the associate commissioners will be paid $58,675.
The sheriff’s 2003 salary will be $66,095, and the county prosecutor’s salary will be $96,000. The prosecutor is paid at the same rate as the state’s associate circuit judges.
The 2003 budget is scheduled to be approved by county commissioners on Tuesday, Jan. 14.+