Commission looking ahead to new budget

Published 10:17 am Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Revenue is projected to be up slightly for 2013


Casino revenues and an increase in sales tax revenue expected in 2013 will give the county an additional $375,475 in funds. But increased insurance premiums and raises for some county employees will probably absorb that surplus, says one Lawrence County Commissioner.

The county auditor’s office is certifying $13,366,610 in revenue for 2013, compared to this year’s amount of $12,991,135.

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In 2013 the main portion of the general fund will be up $172,000 over this year with $9,700,000 certified in that category. The one-half percent sales tax that funds the sheriff’s office, EMS and EMA is up $69,700 with $2,400,000 in that fund next year over $2,330,300 this year. The auditor, treasurer and recorder’s portion of the general fund is up $133,775 with $1,266,610 for 2013 over $1,132,835 for this year.

The majority of officeholders have already turned into the commission their budget requests with hearings to begin this week.

“We will probably do some this week, if someone wants to come in,” Commissioner Bill Pratt said. “If they don’t come in, we will set a budget for them. I would like to try and get a budget done and passed by Dec. 20. To have it over with before Christmas.”

Recently the commission changed the deductible for United Healthcare policy holders from $500-$1,000 to $1,000-$1,500 in order to reduce a projected 8 percent premium increase from $341,114 to $158,160.

“There are things like insurance which will be $150,000 more even though we did change the deductible,” Pratt said. “That will take part of it. A lot of employees have gotten raises … sheriff, dog pound, maintenance and EMS around 30 cents.”

Pratt would like to have a $650,000 carryover from 2013 into 2014. Right now the carryover into 2013 is expected to be $1.2 million.

“That is a lot better than I would have thought,” he said. “The problem we have is we just don’t have a firm grasp on what the casino revenue will be. There is no guarantee the amount will be what they say. We have to be careful and not appropriate too much.”