With the budget hearing for the new fiscal year coming later this summer, the Bourbon County Commission began accepting proposed budgets from individual departments during their meeting Tuesday.
With the general fund being tight in Bourbon County in recent years, with carryover often being used up the following year, and other expenses such as courthouse security changes approaching, the commissioners expressed appreciation to the department heads they met with Tuesday when many of them came with budgets unchanged or lower from previous years.
“Thank you for being frugal on your budget,” commission chairman Barb Albright said to emergency management director Will Wallis when he presented a budget that was lower than the previous year.
The emergency preparedness budget requested $66,464, which included line items such as wages, phones, maintenance, office supplies and other fees and dues. A second emergency budget consists of a $17,000 grant from the government that is also used to pay for some equipment and other items such as the Code Red weather alert system.
Eric Bailey of the Local Environmental Protection Program presented two proposed budgets, one that totaled the same as the previous year while the second added an extra $20,000 for the purchase of a new vehicle, since the current one has needed a significant amount of maintenance work done to keep it operational and has about 136,000 miles on it. With a new vehicle included, the proposed budget totaled $64,821.
Rhonda Cole and Judge Mark Ward of the district court proposed a budget of $242,293, with no increase over the previous year’s budget. The commissioners expressed their surprise and appreciation that the courts were able to keep the budget the same despite heavy case loads in recent months.
Tim Cunningham of Tri-Valley Developmental Services also presented a proposed budget to the county commission, requesting $55,000, down from the almost $55,500 they received the previous year. From their total, more than $5 million budget, Cunningham said cuts in their number of employees and other changes decreased their budget by about $.5 million.
“You have always been good to us,” Cunningham thanked the commissioners, while the commission expressed their positive opinions concerning the importance of the services Tri-Valley provides.
Director Jim Harris of the road and bridge department also presented a budget proposal, with the key difference from previous years being a three percent wage increase. Areas and their requests within the department included: $152,598 for noxious weed; $217,426 for bridge and culvert; $20,585 for special bridge; $225,019 for the landfill; $26,931 for Elm Creek; $2,197,773 for road and bridge; and $1,018,124 for the road and bridge sales tax.
County Clerk Kendell Mason requested $98,462 for her department as well as $90,450 for the election budget, both numbers very similar to the previous fiscal year’s budgets.
Further departments will continue to present proposed budgets to the commissioners so the commission can approve the numbers in a budget hearing, scheduled for the end of August, so those requests can then be submitted to Certified Public Accountant Terry Sercer, who will form the budget before the fiscal year begins January 1.