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Grundy County Board approves 2014 budget

MORRIS – The Grundy County Board approved the budget for fiscal 2014 – beginning Dec. 1 and ending Nov. 30, 2014 – which estimated expenditures to be $33.7 million and revenues to be $31.2 million in the coming year.

The board approved the budget 15-0 during Tuesday’s county board meeting with board members Doug Boresi, John Galloway and Ken Iverson absent.

Grundy County Auditor Tawnya Mack said the $2.5 million difference in spending and revenue comes mostly from a difference in highway fund expenditures and revenues.

In particular, the highway restricted fund is only raising $5,000 in fiscal 2014 while spending $1.6 million.

“It’s misleading because the highway fund has actually been building up for ten years or so,” Mack said before Tuesday’s meeting. “They save money for a long time so they can spend it on specific highway projects.”

The highway restricted fund is one of several special revenue funds that are separate from the county’s general fund.

“Special revenue funds are generally self-sufficient because they have their own levies and their own fees,” Mack said.

The county’s general fund expenditures are expected to increase from $15.2 million in fiscal year 2013 to $15.3 million in the coming fiscal year.

The cash balance for the general fund is expected to remain at $8,226,791 from the beginning to the end of fiscal 2014.

“This is what they call a balanced budget – when cash balance is the same at the beginning and end of the year,” Mack said.

Money spent on courthouse operations is facing a decrease in spending, with expenditures dropping from an estimated $493,950 at the end of fiscal year 2013 to $360,858 by the end of fiscal 2014.

Grundy County Sheriff Kevin Callahan said courthouse operations cut expenditures by moving the switchboard operator’s salary to the sheriff’s fund and adjusting the cost of heating the courthouse building.

“We usually spend about $20,000 on heating the courthouse, but we budget for $40,000,” Callahan said. “I adjusted the 2014 budget to match what we actually spend on heating.”

The adjustment saved about $8,000.

Jail operations is also expected to decrease spending by about $1.2 million in the coming fiscal year. The estimated expenditures for fiscal year 2013 are $2.3 million and are expected to be $1.1 million by the end of 2014.

The decrease is because of the new emergency dispatch center absorbing the salaries of dispatchers. Those salaries will now come out of the 911 center fund instead of jail operations fund, Callahan said.

The county budgeted an extra $100,000 for election costs in fiscal 2014.

Grundy County Clerk Lana Phillips said the increase is standard for a year with more elections. Phillips said all of the county’s voting precincts will be open in 2014, which is significantly more than it opened in 2013.

The majority of the extra money will be used to pay election judges and operate voting locations.

“Odd numbered years usually aren’t as expensive because they don’t have as many elections,” Phillips said.

The board pulled a resolution to approve an amended risk management plan to be discussed further at next month’s meeting.

Among other items in the plan, the board will discuss hiring two part-time security guards to patrol the Grundy County Administration Building. The positions could cost the county as much as $44,000, Grundy County Board Chairman Ron Severson said.

If the board decides in favor of creating the two positions, the 2014 budget will need to be amended in the future to account for the change, Severson said.

“A lot of work went into that budget,” Severson said. “Everyone did a great job of coming together.”

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