County Could Curtail Possible Tax Increase
Karen Shade - May 9, 2017 4:15 pm
Saline County County Administrator Rita Deister told Commissioners Tuesday that “based on rough estimates, an increase in unencumbered budget funds, estimated revenues, and new construction revenues may allow the Commission to have a minimum mil increase”. She estimated that there will be $6,000,000 in new construction in the County. She wrote about an” unencumbered budget of $3,269,844 v. actual pre audit of $6,478,313”. Deister also said the State Legislature is considering amendments to the “tax lid” that might affect the budgets.
She said she was still waiting to know what to budget for the Juvenile Center for 2018, as well as on an EMS request from the City. The Commission also asked that the County Clerk explain a $40,000 increase in that department’s budget.
On the topic of appropriations, the County provided the following entities with financial assistance in 2017:
- The Salina Area Chamber of Commerce $30,000
- Military Affairs Council $3,500
- Soil Conservation District $19,789
- Central Kansas Mental Health $256,836
- OCCK $198,000
- Council on Aging $305,000 and capital outlay of $18,653
- ACCESS TV $15,000
Desiter’s list did not include any continued funding for the Salina Community Economic Development Organization, though this was briefly mentioned.
Weese said the Commission specifically wanted to wait to discuss appropriations at the end of the budget process. He referenced an earlier discussion about funding mandated programs first. Vidricksen concurred.
Weese asked how far different departments project capital improvements. Deister said Road and Bridge as well as IT had five year plans, and R&B had a ten year plan. Weese urged that every department have a multi-year plan. Shadwick agreed and noted that “plans can change, but they should have a plan”. Vidricksen said he liked seeing line items, so he could tell where the money is going. Weese said “big ticket items, like roofs, have to be projected out”. Shadwick agreed and saw the need to “fund depreciation”; Weese added that “overhead doors wear out”. Shadwick said the Commission “is always reacting” to needs that haven’t been previously identified. He’d like to see that change.
Deister said that the budget is in a “holding pattern”. She said she is waiting on certification from the County Appraiser; then State officials have until June 1 to complete another phase of the budget, then the County Clerk has until June 15 to bring the budget back to the Commission. Deister thought the Commission might need to schedule a special meeting between June 16 and July 5th, the goal date for getting the budget to the auditor. Then, a public hearing will be held likely in mid-August, before the budget must be submitted to the State.
Relating to an unexpected 2017 expense, Deister predicted that the Commission will soon receive a request from the Sheriff’s Office to replace another vehicle, which was seriously damaged over the weekend. That vehicle had little insurance value. The Sheriff’s Office has yet to take delivery of the five vehicles they received approval to purchase earlier this year.
City Suggests June 12 for EXPO Center Tour
Deister said she’d received an e-mail from Jason Gage’s assistant Holly McCain suggesting that the next available time slot, for a joint “City-County” study session on the EXPO Center is Monday, June 12. Deister said that there is less activity at the EXPO Center on a Monday. She’d hoped that the City Commissioners would be able to meet on a Friday or Saturday, so they could see numerous events taking place. Shadwick agreed.
Vidricksen said the City “had opened the door” and what is most important is for the two groups to talk. There was consensus on meeting on the 12th if that is when City Commissioners are agreeable to meeting.
White had asked Planning and Zoning Director David Neal to provide an update on planning. Neal reviewed common terms, such as “lot splitting” and “original parcels”. He said “lot splitting” involves “doing what rules allow” his department to do; there is no public discussion. He said “planning” involves such things as dedicated roads and easements for utilities. The planning commission and zoning board take up whether certain land use decisions should be made.
There was no public forum. Commissioners met in executive session for 45 minutes with Community Corrections Director Annie Grevas and her assistant, Rosie Ireland. A second executive session on personnel was held.