No Increase In Cannon County Property Tax: Budget Committee
KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor
Friday, July 2, 2010 8:22 pm
When the end came to what has been a tedious and in some aspects painful process of establishing a Cannon County budget for the fiscal year 2010-2011 Friday night, two things stood out.
First, the Budget Committee was not able to fund everything it wanted to, or that county departments and agencies have requested.
Second, the county's fiscal situation would be much worse than it is had it not had a reserve fund from which to draw.
In finalizing the 2010-2011 budget Friday it will present to the full commission for approval on July 17, the Budget Committee:
• Decided to leave the property tax rate unchanged. It will remain at $2.32.
• Moved one cent of the property tax from the County General Fund to the Solid Waste Fund to balance its budget to begin the fiscal year.
• Decided not to increase the school's portion of the property tax from the current 87.5 cents to 89.5 cents, as requested by the system.
While Cannon County Government employees will not receive a pay raise this year, as it had been hoped would be possible, there will be no layoffs or reduction in services.
Cannon County's economy, just like that of the nation and the state, has suffered the last two years due to the recession. Revenues are down in several areas, such as property and beer taxes, while expenses have increased, particularly retirement and insurance costs.
Some good news to come out of Friday's meeting is that revenue is not projected to decrease as much as had previously been estimated. Estimated revenue for 2010-2011 is now estimated to be $5,199,560.
That is down substantially from the $5,921,969 for 2009-2010, which included grant money for the courthouse revitalization project, but not as big a fall off from the $5,554,455 for 2008-2009.
Total estimated expenditures for 2010-2011 are projected to be $5,519,211, nearly identical to the $5,511,969 spent in 2008-2009. Expenditures for 2009-2010 were $6,353,255, but that figure includes the courthouse project.
The county will take approximately $340,000 from its reserves to fund the 2010-2011 budget, leaving a balance of around $547,000. Over $430,000 was drawn from reserves during the 2009-2010 fiscal year.
Gannon: REACH To Repay Loan First
At the beginning of Friday's meeting, Cannon County Executive Mike Gannon said that the REACH Afterschool Program would repay the $48,685 it was loaned from the General Fund by the County Commission last Saturday when its first grant money for the upcoming fiscal year is received.
Gannon also said cuts have been made to the program — for the second time this calendar year — and that more could be forthcoming before school starts.
REACH has had to borrow operating funds from the county the last few years due to a decline in grant money, Gannon said, but has repaid every loan to date.
"The taxpayers have not lost a penny yet (on funding REACH), and I will do whatever is necessary to see that they do not."
Gannon said that cuts in salaries and employees have been made to repay the loan and balance the REACH budget during the 2010-2011 fiscal year, which began July 1.
Currently the projected revenue for REACH for this fiscal year is $268,000, with an additional $50,000 in grants pending. Expenditures are estimated at this time to be $234,000.