County passes $14.6 million budget
Published 3:26 pm Monday, October 4, 2010
The Butler County Commission has passed a $14.6 million budget for fiscal year 2010-11, but still no money is available to repair the county’s rapidly deteriorating rural roads system.
The road department’s annual budget of $6.1 million covers – to borrow a song title from The Jungle Book – the bare necessities.
“In the economic times we’re in right now, it’s a pretty good budget, but it’s certainly not what we’d like,” said commission chairman Jesse McWilliams. “The biggest concern continues to be with our road department. The funds keep decreasing and the costs keep increasing.”
The county’s budget is receiving a boost of an estimated $2 million in grant funding. A Community Block Development Grant (CDBG) as well as disaster assistance funds from last year’s flooding adds to the county’s bottom line.
County administrator Diane Kilpatrick said the county includes those grants in the final budget, but those funds are specifically set aside for certain projects and repairs. The grants are those the county expects to receive in the upcoming year. Some grants require a match from the county, either in the form of in-kind work or matching funds.
Still, she said, with grants nothing is certain.
“We don’t know if we’re actually going to get it or not,” said Kilpatrick about the grants. “If we don’t, then we mark those revenues off and mark those expenditures off.”
The road department’s budget is actually up from a year ago, but those numbers can be misleading, said engineer Dennis McCall. The county expects to receive $350,000 in reimbursements from FEMA due for road repairs following flooding and equipment rotations for the county’s motor graders and trucks.
“About every three years or so you’ll have an inflated budget,” he said. “It’s not a true number. But that’s why you see the fluctuations.”
Gas fund revenues – the county’s primary operational fund for its roadways – is expected to remain at $4.9 million. The number of employees in the road department is down to 35 employees, due to attrition and retirement over the past year, said McWilliams.
“We’re not going to be as quick in response time, so we’re asking the people of the county to be patient,” he said.
Also, no raises for county employees this year, said McWilliams.
“We were not fortunate enough to reward our employees with raises this year or last year, but they have a job,” he said. “But at the same time we don’t want to give our employees a raise and be faced with the prospect of having to cut money because then you have to lay people off.”
County departments received level funding, said McWilliams, but the county’s rural fire departments received an extra $100 in appropriations.
“We feel comfortable with this budget,” said McWilliams. “Everybody has an idea of what they want you to do, but our main job is to keep the county from going in the red.”
The county’s general fund budget for departments is $4.86 million.
FY 2010-11 Expenditures for Departments
– Commission Office: $343,791
– Probate Judge: $366,393
– Revenue Commission Office: $264,711
– Elections: $97,300
– Board of Registrars: $50,514
– Courthouse & Annex Maintenance: $544,558
– Sheriff’s Department: $832,532
– Butler County Correctional Facility: $696,093