The 2021 Taney County Budget has been approved.
During a special meeting on Friday, Jan. 7, the Taney County Commission unanimously approved the proposed 2021 budget for the county presented by Taney County Auditor David Clark.
The 2021 budget for the entire county includes expenditures in the amount of nearly $61.3 million.
“The beginning balance that we’re going to be starting the year at is going to be $33,048,340.88,” said Clark. “The projected revenue is going to be $45,808,813.35. The total expenditures that we have budgeted for, now keep in mind that some of these expenditures include contingency funds for unforeseen expenditures, but it will be $61,310,709.98. So we’re projecting to end the year at $17,546,444.25.”
For General County Revenue, Clark said, they’ve budgeted for nearly $15.3 million.
“General Country Revenue or GCR budget shows a reserve at the end of the calendar year 2020 of 5,140,141.78,” said Clark. “The anticipated revenues for GCR would be $14,523,571.81 and the anticipated expenditures are $15,288,415.83. In these expenditures will be the emergency funds of $500,000 in contingency funds and capital improvement funds of $335,000.”
Clark added that one of the major capital improvement projects for 2021 will be repairs on the Taney County parking garage, which recently began.
“The Taney County Road and Bridge Fund has two separate funds, but combined together the reserve at the end of 2020 was $12,970,473.66,” Clark said. “It is budgeted to have revenues in 2021 of $11,571,450 and the expenditures are $15,973,492.74. Of these expenditures there will be capital improvements of $2,665,500, and the contingency combined for those funds are $1.5 million. These are all for bridge repairs and improvements, road improvements and repairs and bills.”
For the Taney County Sewer Sales Tax fund, Clark said they’ve prepared to have expenditures of just above $14.5 million.
“The sewer fund ended 2020 with a balance of $7,821,588.40. Revenues are going to be $8,791,648.46. The budgeted expenditures are going to be $14,578,790.49,” said Clark. “A great amount of these expenditures are going to go to major sewer development projects. One of the projects that is happening right now is going to be the Venice on the Lake Sewer Project that’s going on.”
The expenditures for the GCR, the road and bridge department and the sewer department make up a major piece of the budget. Clark said law enforcement is also a part of that major piece.
“Law Enforcement has a reserve at the end of the year of 1,276,054.37. The anticipated revenues are going to be $6,160,000 and the anticipated expenditures are $6,461,296.82. The expenditures are going to be the bond payment, the upkeep of the judicial building, the sheriff’s department, corrections department, juveniles department and prosecutors department expenditures. Those are the number of the major funds in the budget.”
Clark added that in 2021, the county will begin seeing the new funds from the law enforcement sales tax increase, which was passed by county voters last year. Clark explained how those additional funds from that tax will be used in 2021.
“The idea of those funds are to continue to pay for those increasing expenditures of the jail and the judicial building. There are increasing demands for the sheriff’s department, the jail, the prosecuting and they’re going to be ever increasing,” Clark said. “Right now with the bond payment, we were able to help fund more for those departments and then also, so it’s going to relieve the GCR, so it will not be going into and taking out of the reserves and depleting the reserve down.”
While the law enforcement sales tax increase may bring in some additional sales tax funds, Clark said they created the 2021 budget knowing incoming sales tax revenue for the county could be lower this year due to the pandemic.
“We’ve budgeted to do $8.2 million. Last year we got $7,695,803.75 and we budgeted $8.4 million. We have seen an increase in the sales tax in the last couple of months. So we’re hoping to continue to see the numbers to go back up. That’s why we budgeted ($8.2 million) in hopes that it goes back up to get that revenue.”
Since taking office in 2019, the 2021 budget is now the second budget Clark has overseen from start to finish. He said the creation of this year’s budget went well.
“For the budget itself, the process went much smoother this year, with having more ideas of everything in all the departments and the expenditures and everything going through,” said Clark. “It was the help of all the elected officials, department heads and staff all helping me and the commission to develop this budget, and it was very much appreciated for their assistance in finalizing and getting the budget approved.”
Clark added that one of the biggest challenges for the 2021 budget was predicting the impact of the new law enforcement sales tax increase.
“Next year, we’ll change that fund after seeing what kind of revenues that will be produced from that law enforcement sales tax and going into that fund so we can budget appropriately.”
As of press time, the 2021 Taney County Budget had not been published online, but Clark said he has made the request for it to do so and should be made available for public viewing soon. Visit taneycounty.org.