CLINTON — County Auditor Eric Van Lancker said Clinton County’s 2015 fiscal year budget was approved Monday in time to make the state’s March 15 deadline.
After a couple of months of planning, the Clinton County Board of Supervisors have budgeted an estimated $32,126,775 in expenditures. This includes $776,678 slated for capital projects, $5,901,253 for roads and transportation, $7,902,450 for public safety and legal services, $4,017,086 for mental health and social services and other items. The board also approved approximately 2.5 percent wage increases for department heads and elected officials and approximately 2 percent increases for union employees.
“I can’t tell the people enough times what good elected officials and department heads we have in Clinton County,” Chairwoman Jill Davisson said. “I have never had a department head that did not feel the necessity to keep track of those dollars that they’re spending on the taxpayers’ behalf. They’re very conscientious about it. They’re very frugal.”
According to the budget, the county is expecting $30,009,096 in revenue, leaving a $2,117,679 deficit. However, the current budget year will end with a fund balance of $7,882,792.
At Monday’s public hearing, Keith Dexter, of Lost Nation, raised concerns about decreasing reserves. He pointed out that the fund balance has dropped each year.
“My concern would be three years down the road, at the rate it’s going, it would be swallowed up,” Dexter said.
Davisson and Supervisor Brian Schmidt explained that the county tries to be conservative in its budget. This year also sees some special projects, including the satellite office in DeWitt, that will not be seen in a year or two.
“Most of the time we take in more than we anticipate and we spend less than we anticipate,” Davisson.
The budget will also see a small increase in the rural levy. The supervisors explained this is because the state has not given the same amount of funding to secondary roads projects as it has in the past. Within the next year, the county will only be able to complete two of the projects on County Engineer Todd Kinney’s list.
“We are at a loss here, handling and addressing the needs of our roads,” Schmidt said.