2020 County budget approved

The 2020 Gasconade County Budget was officially approved by the Commissioners last Thursday, Jan. 27. In County Clerk Lesa Lietzow’s 2020 Budget Message, she said:

“In the General Revenue Fund, we anticipate appropriations of $2,461,604, which includes the reserve balance of $122,256. Expenditures total $2,442,642 which includes the required emergency fund set-aside of $70,180. The anticipated revenue from the '/2 cent sales tax is $1,016,000; one half of this revenue must be returned to the taxpayers by reducing the General Revenue property tax levy. An additional $1,016,000 in revenue should be realized from the '/2 cent sales tax that is split 25% for General Revenue Fund, which would amount to $254,000, and 75% for Road and Bridge Fund, which would amount to $762,000. The ending balance would only be $18,962, which is uncomfortably low, but when adding in $315,840 needed for early 2021 operations, the balance then becomes $334,802. The most unfortunate news of 2019 was watching the final tally of the 1/2 cent sales tax received, dropping below the $1 million mark. The Commission still believes this downward turn will reverse and have budgeted accordingly, knowing the Treasurer will keep them apprised monthly of the status.”


COUNTY BUDGET CLARIFICATION:  In the A-C’s coverage of the county’s budget process (“Proposed county budgets are stretched beyond tight,” Jan. 5 edition), it was stated, “The total county budget for 2019 was $19,162,542 . . .” This editor was focused on the 2019 Fiscal Year amount of money passing through the County and the ending carryover and balance, using the word “budget” in a broad sense. County Treasurer Mike Feagan says line items 200 - 215 (school district, ambulance, fire district, etc.) are not “budgeted (see spreadsheet).” 

“We are not really trying to “budget” $19 million,” said Treasurer Feagan. “These line items that make up over $12 million are just a pass-through, with 73 percent of that going to the schools [in Gasconade County].”

These items are not funded by the sales tax; but property taxes, delinquent taxes, the railroad and utility tax and payments in lieu of taxes, such as the Missouri Dept. of Conservation’s property outlays (i.e. Canaan Conservation Area, north of Bland).

“You can’t charge the State real estate taxes, so this is in payment of that,” said Feagan.

Treasurer Feagan wanted to be sure Gasconade County residents understood the challenge of providing services and the trend of falling sales tax revenues and the increased cost of doing business that is putting a real strain on the “budgeted” part of the money his office handles. This is primarily General Revenue, a $2,490,905 number financed through the sales tax and as stated in the original article, includes salaries, benefits and operating expenses.