The Taney County 2020 Budget has been approved. On Monday Jan. 6, the Taney County Commission approved the proposed 2020 budget presented by Taney County Auditor David Clark.
Clark shared with commissioners that the total expenditures approved for General County Revenue was $16,755,685.45. He added that the total expenditures for the whole county was $61,213,130.20.
“We have right now a balance of $36,168,965.70, but with all the revenue that’s going to be collected its going to be $43,825,701.88 in the revenue,” said Clark. “The total amount that we’re (projecting to end at) is going to be $18,781,537.38.”
Clark shared that when making preparations for the 2020 budget, he elected to go to every single county department head and elected official in advance to go over and discuss their needs for the year.
“The budget went pretty smooth. I’ve heard a lot of people say that it was a pretty smooth development of this budget to get the numbers in,” said Clark. “I think everything went pretty successful this year.”
In 2018, the 2019 county budget was prepared and submitted to the commission by former Taney County Auditor Rick Findley before he left office at the end of term. Now a year later, Clark was given the chance to create and present his first budget from start to finish.
“I actually learned quite a bit in the year I’ve been here. With the counting and the numbers and the programing I got information, and I knew a lot of information from my experience as having a math degree and actually having a programing background. I was also able to go into the programming to put in coding to make sure that we don’t have any errors and that every number is accounted for,” said Clark. “I believe that I have learned a lot and I believe that I was prepared for going into office, but every job there’s always learning you’ll need to do and I’ll be learning every single year that I’m in office. I will learn and I will always work to the best of my ability for the people of Taney County.”
While the 2020 budget was passed by the commission, its approval was not done unanimously. Even though she provided the second motion to vote on the budget, Eastern Taney County Commissioner Sheila Wyatt voted against the passing of the budget.
When asked what led her to vote against the budget, Wyatt explained that one of the things within the budget she was struggling with was the transfer of funds from the County Aid Road Trust to the General County Revenue.
“In order to vote for something, I have to understand it and within myself be convinced that we have the authority to do that,” said Wyatt. “My concern in voting to approve the budget would be that I would be approving transfers under a statute that I was concerned if we had the right to do. Transfer of admin funds. All the commissioners work hard on the budget. I studied it more this weekend, and I appreciate all the work everyone’s put into it. Now I pray we will all work very hard to remain conservative with those funds, as if they were coming out of our bank account and not out of all the people’s bank account.”
According to Missouri State Statute 231.441.1, the County Aid Road Trust fund is money received by a county to be used for the construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repairs of the roads, bridges and highways as the county commission shall direct. These funds are a returned portion of the gasoline taxes collected by the state. The commission is also responsible for formulating written regulations, rules and policies for the use of the funds.
The funds transferred from the CART fund to the GCR are used by the county as reimbursement funds for the sheriff’s department, according to Western Taney County Commissioner Brandon Williams.
“The statute (RSMo 57.600) allows for road and bridge funds to reimburse the sheriff’s department for the services they provide, which includes expenditures for the operation and maintenance of the patrol in the protection of roads and bridges maintained and constructed from the county road and bridge funds,” said Williams.
Wyatt also shared that she was against elected officials being given a cost of living adjustment (COLA) this year, which was included in this budget.
“I voted against the transfer of funds in the 245 account last week because I could not read or be convinced that we had the right. I voted against the elected officials being part of a COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) with the direction our budget is going,” said Wyatt. “Even with with the elected officials being included in the raise. I objected to that. I even looked to see if I myself could not accept it, but I was told that I couldn’t do that.”
When asked, Wyatt confirmed that had funds not been transferred from the CART to the GCR she said she would have approved the 2020 budget.
The Taney County 2020 Budget will be available online for public viewing at taneycounty.org.