In preparing for the new year, the Bourbon County Commission went over the 2015 budget to make sure the financial numbers lined up and to see where changes could be made to make the 2016 budget more accurate.
Attorney Justin Meeks, county treasurer Rhonda Dunn and Jim Harris of the road and bridge department met with the commission Tuesday to discuss the revenue, expenditures and totals from the 2015 budget.
Out of the approximate $11 million annual budget for Bourbon County, the totals up through just last week showed $72,635.97 cash remaining in the general fund, with the few remaining days left in 2015 to go. That is the sum after more than $396,000 was set aside to carry over into the 2016 budget, though some cash reserves from previous years were also used.
Dunn shared that the general fund’s total revenue was down by about $185,000, coming from specific areas such as the motor vehicle tax, mortgage reimbursements and other taxes. But while the budgeted revenues did not come in as predicted, the expenditures were also down, helping even out the totals.
“We anticipated this,” commission chairman Barbara Albright said, saying they expected it to be a tight year and are planning for similar budget restrictions in 2016.
Dunn said she believes they collected much of the budgeted revenue and is not sure why the numbers were down across the different departments. Dunn will look at the previous five years to see if the totals follow a trend or if it could possibly be an accounting and budgeting issue.
The main discrepancy was found in the employee benefits department—including the social security, workman’s compensation and life insurance—which had a revenue of more than $2.3 million when it was only budgeted for $1.3 million, leaving a surplus that could not be put in the cash fund since it was not budgeted.
The road and bridge department also suffered a shortfall, but Dunn and Harris worked hard and found a way to transfer funds once bond money comes in to reimburse the department, resulting in $33,492.85 left in its balance.
While the budget is tight, Albright said it definitely could have been worse. Moving forward, she said they will try not to be too optimistic in their budgeting and remain careful in their spending.
The commission approved some amendments in the budget, including the road and bridge transfers as well as other changes to the employee benefits, noxious weed and landfill departments. Any other significant changes will not be made until about February of the new year, after the data is further analyzed.