MADISON — At least two elected officials have concerns with parts of Boone County’s 2021-’22 budget of $5,342,357. Both approached the county commission during a regular meeting on April 20.
Prosecuting Attorney Donna Taylor was the first to speak to commissioners. According to the county budget, which was published on April 21, her department’s budget stands at $428,990 for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
“First, I have a generalized objection,” Taylor said. “Due to the fact that the budget was only published for one week instead of the required two in the Coal Valley News, it didn’t give elected officials or the public a chance to view the budget as required by law.”
Administrator Pam White responded, “It went in, but there was a problem with the budget.”
Assistant Administrator Lee Ann Dale then said, “The same one (budget) that is in there this week (will be) in there next week.”
Taylor responded, “So, are you moving the date that the public can come in and object, since it won’t be published until this week and next week?”
“Our budget was changed because the levy rate went down,” Dale said. “Nothing changed in your numbers, but the auditor’s office is aware of it and they approved it.”
Taylor interjected, “The auditor’s office can approve it, but still the public needs to be given the opportunity to view it and that is the whole reason we put it in the paper is so they can come in and object to it.”
Dale then posed the question, “So you are here to object today?”
Taylor responded, “Yes; additionally, before the courthouse budgets are cut, revenue from outside agencies should be cut. We have no idea what was being cut because there wasn’t line items posted for any of us to be able to see. When will that be available?”
Commission President Craig Bratcher interjected, “We’ve cut just about everything we ever…”
Taylor said, “So you aren’t paying for parks and rec and you aren’t paying for anything else?”
Commissioner Brett Kuhn added, “Not out of the general budget, no.”
Taylor responded, “But we have no way of knowing that because we haven’t seen the budget.”
White added, “Reallocated (funds) aren’t in the budget.”
Dale responded, “Anytime you want, I can give you what the reallocated numbers are, all you have to do is ask.”
Taylor then made the request to change line items related to the office’s insurance.
“We are in the process of trying to make sure that we are transparent with that and after we are able to get everything in these line items and figure out where we can put them, I think at that time we can move forward,” Kuhn said.
Taylor responded, “So you guys are declining my motion to move the line items?”
Kuhn said, “Yes ma’am, I am.”
Taylor said, “So you don’t take that to a vote? It’s a unilateral thing?”
Kuhn responded, “I’ll make that motion right now.”
Commissioner Jacob Messer, Ph.D., stepped into the conversation and suggested tabling the request temporarily in lieu of voting on a motion to reject the request.
“I would rather table it than make a final decision today based on what could change and be more beneficial to you,” he said.
Kuhn said, “I’m fine with that, we just need to make sure we are all looking at the same set of numbers.”
The commission moved to table the discussion until a future date.
Additionally, Boone County Circuit Clerk Anita Perdue approached the commission regarding her office’s budget and her desire to hire an employee. According to published budgetary numbers, her budget stands at $256,043 for the 2021-’22 fiscal year.
“I originally wanted to hire a full-time person and I was cut, so now I am only able to hire a part-time person, so I’ve got too much in my insurance and I’d like to move that.”
Kuhn said, “We are in the process of making sure we are more transparent with that (insurance) and it is going to take us a little while to get that squared away.”
Perdue responded, “Do you have a time frame?”
Kuhn said, “I think it will be sooner rather than later. We want to be more transparent with that and make sure we are all looking at the same set of numbers.”
The Boone County Commission meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m., the third Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. and the last Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m. at the Boone County Courthouse Annex, third floor. Call 304-369-7303.