County's proposed 2013 budget detailed

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Vernon County's proposed 2013 general fund budget calls for $68,308 more in expenditures than the recently expired 2012 spending and revenues schedule and entails a substantial cut for Sheriff Jason Mosher's office and a bump in his jail budget.

Now open to public perusal in the commissioners' room at the downtown courthouse and set to be finally approved Jan. 30 if no further changes are made, the document details $3,469,943 in calendar 2013 general fund expenditures against 2012's $3,401,635.

Applying the 2012 year-end $513,240 surplus to this year's operations, the budget projects $3,124,641 in revenues and a $167,939 cash balance on Dec. 31.

In a Wednesday afternoon interview at the courthouse after meeting with Commissioners Neal Gerster and Everett Wolfe, Mosher said he was pleased to have gained approval to buy a new patrol pickup and an SUV and authorization to assign Jail Deputy Greg Prough to full-time duty as bailiff of the 28th Circuit Court and as courthouse security officer.

The sheriff's office spent $797,671 and $833,763 in 2011 and 2012, respectively, and this year Mosher plans to operate on $570,195.

The jail budget was for $791,235 and $818,127 during the past two years and this year amounts to $867,561, according to documents released by the county clerk's office Wednesday.

"We have been sending Deputy Prough to work as the bailiff when court was in session, but right now if court is not in session, there is no security in the courthouse," Mosher said. "He will start work here at the first of February.

"I have been very pleased to work with the commissioners. They asked me to tell them what I needed and that they would try to get it. We'll sell a Ford Crown Victoria that has 200,000 miles on it and keep one as a reserve that has about 170,000."

Referring to putting new "Vernon County Sheriff's Office" signs on his five pickups, six Crown Victorias and transportation van and the new pickup and six-cylinder Ford Explorer Police Interceptor he will buy, Mosher said the fresh graphics have been placed on the existing vehicles in his fleet and will be emblazoned on the new ones when they arrive. "The graphics were faded on some of the older vehicles," he said.

Mosher said that Crown Victorias "are good, tough cars," but they get relatively poor gas mileage and do not hold up to high speed driving on gravel roads as well as the pickups, which has translated into some hefty maintenance expenses.

Sales tax revenues reported and projected by Commissioners Wolfe and Gerster and Presiding Commissioner Bonnie McCord are $958,230 in 2011, $935,341 in 2012 and $872,000 this calendar year.

Fees paid by neighboring counties to jail their inmates totaled $393,583 in 2011 and $478,033 last year and should run about $400,000 in the new year, they said.

The county recycling center is expected to generate $30,000 for the general fund after producing $28,591 two years ago and $17,105 last year.

The 28th Circuit Court brought in $58,325 and $50,359 during each of the past two years and should ring up $72,310 in 2013, the commissioners said. County clerk's fees will hold steady at $12,325 this year after bringing in $12, 038 and $12,636 in 2011 and 2012, they project.

McCord had said recently that the commissioners had asked Mosher "to look at his budget and see if he can trim a little bit" after reviewing his initial requests. "We had a half-million left over last year and I'm thrilled about that because we had a hard year in 2010," said McCord.

"The new jail hadn't been in use very long and it was tough. We had to watch our cash flow to make payroll."

McCord said the surplus had resulted from factors including thriftiness by county department heads, improved sales tax receipts and revenues from boarding out-of-county prisoners.

Broken down by department, other county general fund budgets of 2011 and 2012 and the tentatively authorized schedule for 2013 are as follows:

County Commission -- $95,522, $96,314 and $96,941.

County Clerk -- $192,351, $180,510 and $198,179.

Elections -- $3,777, $82,321 and $27,850.

Buildings and Grounds --$95,437, $104,039 and $135,454.

Employees' Fringe Benefits -- $371,489, $377,341 and $442,407.

Treasurer's Office --$107,406, $134,624 and $133,729.

Recorder of Deeds --$87,680, $87,399 and $90,462.

Circuit Clerk's Office -- $36,391, $35,474 and $68,185.

Court Administration --$20,716, $27,384 and $21,855.

Public Administrator's Office -- $65,798, $69,247 and $75,848.

Prosecuting Attorney's Office -- $184,609, $193,315 and $208,000.

Juvenile Office -- $113,587, $115,571 and $138,909.

Coroner's Office -- $25,634, $26,662 and $28,228.

Insurance and Bonds --$55,945, $54,652 and $60,000.

University Extension Service -- $40,000, $41,000 and $44,000.

Computers -- $18,825, $21,401 and $50,280.

State Retirement-- $7,752 in all three years.

Recycling Center -- $33,061, $43,447 and $30,000.

Emergency Management -- $42,960, $41,900 and $21,884.

Children's Center -- $1,000 in all three years.

Debt Service -- $57,637, zero and zero.

Drug Court -- $8,345, $11,571 and $15,000.

Emergency Fund -- $38, $9,178 and $93,739.

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