2013 county budget shows about 1 percent increase over 2012

With revenues projected to be as much as $2 million less than in 2012, the 2013 Jefferson County budget is slated to increase slightly compared to 2012, caused primarily by increases in insurance costs for employees.

Committees of the County Quorum Court will review the proposed budget Tuesday starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Quorum Courtroom.

The 2013 County General budget calls for expenditures of $9.19 million, an increase of $118,765.66 or 1.31 percent over last year, while the County Road Department budget next year calls for spending $3,524,504, an increase of $13,706 or 0.39 percent over this year. The total 2013 budget is $12,588,040.61, or 1.05 percent above 2012.

Revenue estimates prepared by County Treasurer Elizabeth Rinchuso for next year predict the county will receive $26,118,590, compared to $28,2121,549 for 2012.

Among the biggest losers in tax revenue next year are the Public Safety Sales Tax, which is expected to drop by more than $500,000; the county jail, predicted to lose almost $300,000; and the recycling resource recovery fund, predicted to lose just over $300,000.

Revenue from County General is predicted to drop from $9.28 million to $9.26 million, while the County Road Fund is predicted to decrease from $3.88 million to $3.86 million.

Earlier this month, Dr. Herman Ginger, a member of the Finance Committee who has been chairing that committee in the absence of Vannette Johnson, said because of Rinchuso’s projections, county departments and agencies are going to have to live within their budgets next year, noting that some departments started requesting supplemental appropriations as early as last January.

Those supplemental appropriations included $360,000 for election costs, which will not be necessary this year because there are no major elections scheduled.

Juvenile Court received an additional $104,000 in supplemental appropriations, county buildings got an additional $51,000, and the sheriff’s department got an extra $21,000.

County Judge-elect Dutch King has said he knows that there will be a lot of agencies and groups, both inside and outside county government, who will be seeking funding or additional funding and while he said he will listen to all of them, “if the money’s not there, it’s not there.”

Looking at specific departments for next year, only the County Judge’s Office showed a double-digit increase over 2012, going from $307,380 to $522,234.82, an increase of $203,854.54 or 66.32 percent this year.

That increase was generated by a number of independent agencies and organizations who are all funded from the judges budget, including dues for the Association of Arkansas Counties, dues for the National Association of Counties, the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development and Regional Planning groups, the County Attorney, the Port Authority, Youth and Recreation, and the Jefferson County Beautification Facilities Board.

Proposed 2013 budgets for other county offices include the following:

• County Clerk, $563,802.49, an increase of 0.44 percent.

• Circuit Clerk, $467,695, an increase of 0.47 percent.

• County Treasurer, $153,675, an increase of 0.52 percent.

• Tax Collector, $483,994.62, an increase of 4.59 percent

• Assessor, $733,638.12, an increase of 6.47 percent

• Sheriff, $2,597,320, an increase of 0.19 percent.

• Circuit Court Juvenile Division, $782,612.83, an increase of 0.50 percent.

• Coroner, $137,401, an increase of 0.45 percent.

• Prosecuting Attorney, $514,659, a decrease of 1.01 percent

• Prosecuting Attorney Victim Witness $86,144.37, a decrease of 0.14 percent

• Museum, $25,65o, the same as in 2012

• Circuit Court — First Division, $113,584, an increase of 4.5 percent

• Circuit Court — Second Division $65,841, an increase of .43 percent

• Circuit Court — Third Division, $45,735, a decrease of .08 percent

• Circuit Court — Fourth Division, $44,124, an increase of 1.17 percent

• Circuit Court — Fifth Division, $59,353, an increase of 0.38 percent

Proposed 2013 budgets for agencies who receive funding from multiple sources include:

• County Jail, $4,502,806

• Pubic Defender, $47,600

• Solid Waste Reserve Fund, $1.24 million

• Jefferson County Recycling, $294,356

• Juvenile Justice Center, $1,931,424

• Juvenile Justice Education, $566,635

• Jefferson County District Court, $534,414