By Kyle Siegel
On Tuesday, Jan. 29, the Pettis County Commissioner’s Office approved the county budget for the 2013 fiscal year after months of work.
For the two new commissioners, Brent Hampy and Jim Marcum, it was a new process for them on a county level.
“Being my first year on the budget process, it seemed to go smoothly. The county is working off a conservative budget, because of our uncertain outlook on the community,” Pettis County Eastern Commissioner Brent Hampy said.
The News-Journal sat down with Pettis County Presiding Commissioner John Meehan to discuss this year’s budget process.
Meehan was asked how he thought the budget process went this year.
“The budget process went smoothly. Putting a budget together, we have to estimate revenues. The bulk of our money in Pettis County is sales tax,” Meehan explained.
He added, “We look at historical data and trends, and I seek the input of all of the elected officials, department heads and community leaders to get an idea if they feel that sales tax revenues will be up, down or remain flat.”
For 2013, the General Revenue Budget is balanced at $6,622,943. The balanced budget for the Road and Bridge department came in at $7,615,355.
This includes offset entries for potential MoDOT 80/20 Bridge Replacement Funding, according to Meehan.
Meehan went on to speak about sales tax revenues for the past several years, and if they were up or down from year to year.
“Sales tax revenues in 2012 compared to 2011 were down 4.3 percent, or a quarter of a million dollars.
“With that being said, sales tax revenues in 2011 were higher than they were in 2010, so it is really hard to predict a trend when you look at annual revenues,” Meehan said.
Meehan added, “What we did notice was a decrease of sales tax revenue in the third and fourth quarter of 2012. Revenues for January 2013, compared to sales tax revenue from 2012, we are down $80,000.”
Meehan spoke of cost saving measures put into place in 2011 and 2012.
“We found ways to reduce expenses and make our Pettis County government more efficient in 2011 and 2012.
“We have already started identifying cost savings for 2013. So, because of that, the elected officials and department heads are, generally speaking, working with a flat budget this year,” Meehan explained.
The Pettis County Commissioner’s Office polled elected officials and they project that revenues in 2013 will be down slightly compared to 2012.
The budget process is a long and difficult process and it began in October of last year.
“We started in October. In essence we start the dialogue with elected officials and department heads in October,” Meehan said.
He added, “Long before we approve the budget, the individual budgets are given to them so they can come in and visit if there are any adjustments to be made so we can be accommodating.”