Gasconade County will be taking the first steps toward fashioning a 2021 budget that already possesses some good news.

In its weekly session, held Thursday Nov. 12 at the courthouse, the Gasconade County Commission afforded elected officials the opportunity to sit in during preliminary talks for next year's budget. The discussion was preceded by a report from Treasurer Mike Feagan, who told the commission the county to date has almost $934,000 in sales tax revenue for 2020.

Feagan said that figure is more than $41,000 beyond the pace set in 2019.

"I thought we would do pretty well," he said, though noting surprise about the update.

County Clerk Lesa Lietzow said public hearings will be scheduled ahead of the county's finalization of the budget, which by state statute must be done before Feb. 1.

"I don't see anybody's budget going over," Lietzow said.

The county clerk's office spent a combined $10,000 on both the August and November elections. It's anticipated the county will be able to carry over $293,000 into the new year.

"I think we're going to start out in better shape," she added.

The commissioners praised county offices for holding the line on expenses this year. 

"I'm tickled the way it looks," said Southern District Commissioner Jerry Lairmore.

Fay Owsley, who is retiring, received applause for her 20 years as Gasconade County Public Administrator. Kelly Thomas will succeed her in the position in January.

Sheriff Scott Eiler gave a preview of his department's budget.

"My biggest expense will be vehicles," Eiler said. Highlighting the fleet's age, two sheriff's vehicles have 100,000 miles on the odometer, with another at 150,000 miles and one more at 50,000 miles. The department van is still in use.

Eiler said will be working on the arrangements for stationing a school resource officer (SRO) in Hermann.