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Even with jail cuts, county offices face tight budget year

By Sara Seidel, Staff writer

Although the Ray County jail’s budget was cut substantially for the current fiscal year, budgets for other county departments are in slightly better shape – if one defines “holding steady” as slightly better.
Ray County’s commissioners, who approve budgets for county offices, asked department heads last fall to prepare 2013 budgets based on 2012 expenditures.
“We went back to actuals,” said Western Commissioner Mike Twyman. “We approved what was spent in 2012.”
In 2012, actual expenditures totaled $3,887,768.94, according to County Clerk Glenda Powell.  For the current fiscal year, the budget is $3,165,843. The county is cutting expenses at the jail by 40 percent to make up much of the $611,925 difference.
For most of the rest of the county’s offices, however, county commissioners asked department heads to order only what they needed, not what they might have wanted, to run their departments.
“Departments stuck with previous budgets if at all possible,” Powell said.
The county’s fiscal year follows the calendar year, so although the county finalized the budget March 4, officials have been operating under it since Jan. 1.
“We are maintaining,” Powell said.
Eastern Commissioner Allen Dale said the county ended 2012 with a deficit, but as of late May, it had repaid about 60 percent of the money it borrowed to cover last year’s expenses.
Presiding Commissioner Bob King said he hopes the county will be able to avoid borrowing money to cover this year’s expenses.
The commissioners said no salaries have been cut, and no personnel outside of the sheriff’s department have been laid off.
Further, King noted the county hasn’t asked for a tax increase to ease the budget pressures.

The complete story appeared in the June 10, 2013 print edition of the Richmond News.

Click here for our E-edition and read the rest of the story.

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