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Funding is getting much tighter around the Ray County Courthouse, but when tax increases are mentioned a favorable response is not present.
County Commissioners still have not approved a final budget for 2009.
Presiding Commissioner Jeff Adams said the county is operating on the 2008 budget numbers for now, but said on Wednesday that serious adjustments must be made soon.
So far for the year, revenue numbers are down across the board in county departments including sales tax, although some commissioners including Western Commissioner Mike Twyman said he thinks sales tax numbers will be up for the month of March from discussions he has had with business owners.
When asked if the county may have to lay off workers, all three said they were cautiously optimistic that they would not have to.
“We knew revenue was going to be down,” Adams said. “We just didn’t know how much.”
Adams said it is going to be an unpopular move, but every department in the county is going to have to be slashed. Just weeks ago Adams said the commission was looking at cutting at least an additional $226,000 out of the budget.
Currently, courthouse administration is running solely on sales tax. Each year the state Auditor’s office sends a levy form to the county with a $0.17 levy. Adams said each year they cross it out and enter zero.
When asked if they would consider re-instating the levy, all three commissioners were against the idea. Adams said at the very least he would want to conduct several public hearings.
Eastern Commissioner Allen Dale said he would want to put it to a vote.
“With the economy the way it is I don’t think people can pay any more taxes,” Dale said. “People are at the max. They might be over the max.”
The commissioners said there are no plans to address the issue.