|San Jacinto News-Times - Local News
Stories Added - July 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
Budget woes prompt departmental cuts as county prepares for 2011
San Jacinto News- Times
COLDSPRING – San Jacinto County offi cials were told there would probably not be salary increases this year in an attempt to make up for a one-half million dollar revenue shortfall in the county coffers. The news was delivered by San Jacinto County Judge Fritz Faulkner during a budget workshop held last week in preparation for the county’s new 2011 budget which begins in October. “I intend to have the prepared budget fi led in the San Jacinto County Clerk’s offi ce for public inspection on Aug. 13, as required,” Faulkner said. Until the new certifi ed appraisal roll is delivered to the San Jacinto County Tax Assessor- Collector by the San Jacinto County Chief Appraiser it is a guessing game as to how much money the county will actually have to work with, Faulkner said. “At this point we don’t know if appraisals are up or down,” Faulkner said. During last week’s budget workshop, commissioners’ court met with elected offi cials who anticipate an increase in their budget for the next year in an attempt to trim back spending where possible. “This is going to be the tightest year I’ve ever had to deal with. I know we’re not going to raise taxes,” Faulkner told the court. Beginning with the San Jacinto County Treasurer’s budget, Faulkner asked Angie Beard if she will need the $15,000 she is requesting for part-time help. “I can’t see tripling what you have budgeted this year,” Faulkner told Beard, adding, “We’ll be looking hard at the request.” Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Beth Sewell requested a parttime clerk to help with fi ling, documenting payments and computer entries. “We’re overwhelmed with paperwork, leaving us with no time to process and follow up on juvenile cases that are increasing,” Sewell said. Sewell said she has 20 to 25 juvenile cases per month. “That’s one juvenile per day your regular clerk has to work,” Faulkner said. “This is going to be a tough budget year. Revenues are behind maybe by onehalf million dollars because things are not happening. This is the year to tighten our belts. If we can fi nd the money I realize the need,” Faulkner said. Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Randy Ellisor asked for the same budget in 2011 that he has for 2010, informing the court additional work created in his office and the need for additional help. San Jacinto County Sheriff James Walters said he’s had an increase in medical expenses this year. He has $75,000 budgeted for medical expenses in 2010 but has actually spent about $126,773. He requested $100,000 to be budgeted for 2011. “I just don’t know what to say. I had to pay for two surgeries for a child molester in this budget,” Walters said. “I hope we can get by this year for less than proposed.” The sheriff cut his part-time help from $5,000 to $3,000. He hopes to replace three vehicles and said he has enough money from seizures to pay for one. Walters said his inmate housing program has been slower than anticipated primarily due to transportation. “We need to get a transport vehicle so we can transport inmates from surrounding counties to house them here,” Walters said. “The San Jacinto County Appraisal District is requesting a $37,000 budget increase. They were budgeted $63,000 last year for postage and used $17,650. We may need to look at that. Might go down to $30,000,” Faulkner said. The county’s sanitation department is up from $229,000 this year to $332,443 for next year, according to Faulkner. “About $50,000 of the increase is due primarily to a new truck.” Faulkner said he would not know until the middle of July what the revenue will be for the county’s Road B ridge budgets. In an attempt to cut his budget, Pct. 3 Commissioner Butch Moody said he would see about getting a satellite off his Pct. 3 Annex Building. “It costs about $2,000 per year,” Moody said. Constables’ budgets were looked at with comments made on telephone expenses and the possibility of cutting those expenses which varied greatly between each precinct. July 28 is the date the San Jacinto County Chief Appraiser is supposed to deliver the county’s certified appraisal roll to the county tax assessor-collector. Judge Faulkner, who is the budget officer for the county, said he will have the 2011 proposed budget filed in the county clerk’s office on Aug. 13, 2010. The 2009 market value for all property in San Jacinto County was $2,219,610,930; however, the total assessed value was $1,577,276,706 and it is the assessed value upon which the tax rate is applied, according to Faulkner. The assessed value is the value that you have after subtracting all legal exemptions. In last year’s budget, the general fund budgeted expenditures totaling $8.5 million; Road and Bridge budgeted expenditures totaling $3.2 million; and sanitation’s budget totaled $433,969 in expenditures. To total of these for 2009 was $12,238,883. Tax revenue figures that were budgeted for 2009 include $5.5 million in the county’s General Fund; Road and Bridge $2,109,425 for a total of $7,625,308 in tax revenue budgeted funds. “As you can see, several million dollars in revenue above the tax revenue is needed to fund county services,” Faulkner said. This revenue comes from a variety of sources, including grants, fine revenues, fees of office, filing fees, sales tax revenues national forest timber receipts, motor vehicle registration fees, interest on investments and revenue from housing out-of-county inmates. Revenue budgeted for housing out-of-county inmates has fallen significantly behind in the current budget leading to a budget shortfall in anticipated revenues for 2010.