County's 2021 budget adopted after a smooth process

By HB Dodds
Posted 1/20/21

Osage County commissioners adopted the 2021 Osage County budget Wednesday, Jan. 13. The process was notably smoother than in years past, mainly because it simply wasn't as hard to make ends meet this …

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County's 2021 budget adopted after a smooth process

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Osage County commissioners adopted the 2021 Osage County budget Wednesday, Jan. 13. The process was notably smoother than in years past, mainly because it simply wasn't as hard to make ends meet this year.
Osage County First District Commissioner John Trenshaw feels the presence of Proposition P Law Enforcement Tax revenue is the most immediate relief.
"We would have had to make some really tough cuts without it," He said.
Osage County Presiding Commissioner Darryl Griffin also mentioned a solid increase in regular sales tax revenue. "We want to thank our citizens for shopping at home this year," he emphasized. This money is one of the few, and quirky, benefits of 2020's COVID-19 emergency. That, however, is also responsible for the reduction in County Aid Road Trust (CART) revenues. While Osage County citizens drove less, they spent more in the county. They also, however, bought less fuel.
Real Estate and Personal Property Tax revenues are also forecast to be higher. COVID-19 shutdowns have caused homeowners to think seriously about upgrading. They are either purchasing a more expensive dwelling or they're making improvements to what they have. Both present higher valuations and tax bills. Car sales, and residual values, are also plumping up personal property valuations.
The county estimates total assessed valuation at $222,950,000, up from the actual $222,842,404 in 2020. That number came in $542,504 better than its estimate in January 2020. The 2021 estimate includes $132,100,000 in real estate, $58,000,000 in personal property, and $32,850,000 in railroad and utility property. All are projecting higher than the 2020 actual values, which significantly exceeded 2020 estimates.
The county owes $927,900 on Courthouse Renovation, and $118,000 of principle was retired in 2020.
Cash on hand totaled $3,102,041.02 the first of the year. In 2020, that number was $2,766,162.55. The county anticipates revenues of $7,343,406.34. 2020 revenues totaled $9,926,852.21, inflated by the county's Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allotment. The budget appropriates $7,243,876.01, estimating $3,201,271.17 to remain at the end of the year. Total funds available for 2021 figure to be $9,456,433.26 compared to the actual $12,156,132.30 in 2020.
General Revenue Fund
For General Revenue, the county counts on $300,000 in property tax. There should be $625,000 in sales tax, matched by the recently passed Proposition P, for a total of $1,250,000.
The commission expects intergovernmental revenues to come in at $119,186.75. This is down from $630,140.03 in 2020, a number wildly skewed by the CARES Act. There is optimism another round of federal stimulus legislation may come to pass but facts are unavailable for budget purposes. The Deputy Sheriff Supplemental Salary Fund (DSSSF) might be down to $1,500 from 2020's $24,549.49. Election-related reimbursements will be down in a non-general election year. Election Reimbursement should be $23,100, and there will be an Election Efficiency Grant of $3,514.80.
Charges for services should bring in $434,220, up from $251,872.21 last year. The big earner is the Osage County Health Department (OCHD), which expects to collect $333,895 in fees. That's more than double the $148,240.46 in 2020. Much of this comes from billing patients' insurance companies. Plus, the COVID-19 crisis has caused many citizens to defer some preventative care. Hopefully, there will be some catching up in 2021.
Osage County Recorder Cindy Hoffman expects to collect $60,000 in recording fees, down from $67,097.10 in 2020. That number was sharply higher than expected, so Hoffman has moderated her expectations. The sheriff's office expects $7,000, and the Circuit Clerk $20,325. The Public Administrator forecasts $1,000.
Interest income figures to be around $14,700, higher than 2020's actual $6,575.12.
Money transferred into General Revenue from other funds should total $730,500, down from $872,500 last year. A total of $77,000 from the Law Enforcement/911 tax earmarked for the sheriff's office is less than the $90,000 transferred in recent years. The Use Tax transfer budgets $247,500, down from 2020's $307,500, but identical to 2019. The commissioners are conservative instead of counting on 2020's remarkable performance.
Therefore, money from the Courthouse Renovation and Operating Fund should return to $400,000 from 2020’s actual figure of $475,000.
Other sources of revenue are estimated at $23,842.38. They are highlighted by an expected insurance refund of $13,179.75 and a Local Law Enforcement Block Grant (LLEBG) of $9,999 for radios.
Total General Revenue is forecast to be $2,872,449.13, down from an actual $2,940,885.51 in 2020. Proposition P tax receipts will come in for a whole year, but CARES Act funds are uncertain. Expected income reflects both of those factors.
Total appropriations for 2021 are $2,831,316.29, down from $2,874,068.29 actually spent in 2020. Once again, Proposition P and Sheriff's Office funding account for quite an increase. It will be there for a whole, rather than a partial, year. However, the uncertainty of new CARES Act funding more than offsets that.
The County Commission budgets $103,420; the County Clerk $113,120; Elections, reflecting a non-General Election year, $31,164; Buildings and Grounds, $63,892; County Treasurer $46,300; Employee Fringe Benefits $206,448; County Collector $112,160; Recorder of Deeds $48,600; Public Administrator $43,444; Circuit Clerk $13,180; Prosecuting Attorney $132,026; Juvenile Officer $29,400; County Coroner $23,431; County Health Department $379,400.84; Transfers out $6,600; Emergency Fund $68,370; and Other, including property and liability insurance, professional organization dues, and surveyor, $162,654.63. The budget anticipates a surplus of $184,693.18 at the end of the year, compared to the actual $422,561.18 at the end of 2020. That was expected to be $102,249.86. Unexpected increase in tax revenues and the CARES Act were responsible for the higher surplus.
Sheriff's Office
Sheriff Mike Bonham's salary remains unchanged at $46,000. Thanks to Prop C, he expects his staff to be as complete as his 2019 10-year plan expected for 2021. The total salary investment in 2020 is planned to be $373,300, up from 2020's $314,300. He received 100% of his budget request for deputies.
Clerical salaries will increase to $80,200, up from $34,619 paid in 2020. This also reflects additional hiring thanks to Proposition C. Other office compensation should total $17,120. Office expense is budgeted for $14,500. Uniforms should cost $2,000; DFFFS Grant Pay will be lower at $15,000; MoDOT Grant pay is expected to be $3,000; Compensatory time payout is expected to be $14,500. Reserve deputy compensation is expected to come in at $20,500.
Vehicle maintenance figures to be $30,000 and fuel should be $43,300 and $129,800 is budgeted for new vehicles.
Staff training is budgeted at $5,500; the Mid-Mo Drug Task Force gets $10,000 from Osage County; the Junior Deputy Program will be reduced to $700; Officer Zed gets $5,000, and $1,500 was allocated for new bullet-proof vests. The total Sheriff's office appropriation is $861,269.
Bonham was especially aware of the improved climate during budget talks this year. "I thought that budget process went very smooth this year," he observed. "When we presented our budget this year, we highlighted that we requested less out of general revenue due to the passing of Prop P. We are asking for $110,595.07 less of the general revenue, than last year."
Bonham will be able to add one detective this year. This keeps him on track to complete the 10-year plan he published in 2019. So far, the plan is proceeding on time and on budget.
Jail
The requested Jail employee salary total was increased this year to $225,500. That's up from 2020's actual total of $199,369.02. Part-time employees will receive a total of $8,463, down from 2020's $10,156.19. The Board of Prisoners budget was increased to $29,000, up from $24,619.73 actually spent in 2020.
Maintenance equipment should cost $1,000; office supplies $7,000; and prisoner medical expense $7,000. Crimestar software will be purchased for $3,000, a new line item for 2021. The only item cut by the commission from the jail's request was for a new car. A total of $25,000 was requested, but only $5,000 was approved.
"The cut for the jail vehicle will be substituted with a used vehicle," Bonham said.
This is much less alarm than he sounded when enduring the cuts to his 2020 budget.
County Commission
The County Commission budget increased to $103,420, up from the 2020 expenditures of $88,794.64. Commissioner salaries remain unchanged and will total $84,170. Mileage and training were budgeted at $1,000. The increase came from a line item for a part-time clerical salary of $14,000. A new front desk clerk will prioritize meeting minutes and other commission needs. That will be at least part of the position's duties.
County Clerk
The County Clerk's budget expects an increase from $105,882.89 in actual expenses in 2020 to $113,120. Nicci Bouse-Kammerich's salary is unchanged at $41,500. Her staff totals $56,120 more. She expects office expenses of $13,500, and mileage and training to total $2,000.
Elections
While there are no general elections scheduled in 2021, there will still be some expense, with $31,174.80 budgeted, much less than 2020's outlay of $122,861.04. There will be no statewide elections but municipal offices and issues will open the precincts on occasion.
Building and Grounds
Osage County Building and Grounds Janitorial and Maintenance Worker John Kennedy receives a scheduled salary of $30,980. With comp time and overtime, he actually made $31,084.23 in 2020. The total Building and Grounds budget is $63,892, a little higher than the $62,206.91 spent in 2020. Courthouse supplies ($1,500) and utilities ($24,000) remain in line with past years as do repairs and upkeep ($7,000).
Treasurer
Osage County Treasurer Tim Neuner's salary remains unchanged at $41,500. His office expense budget is higher at $2,500. The office equipment budget increased slightly to $1,100. He expects mileage and training to increase from $800 actual in 2020 to $1,200.
Collector
Osage County Collector Denise Nolte's $112,160 request was granted. Her salary is $43,300, and her staff will be paid another $34,000, up from 2020's $25,632.45. She plans to spend $1,100 on new office equipment. Her office expenses are expected to increase from $25,632.45 in 2020 to $34,000.
Recorder of Deeds
Osage County Recorder Cindy Hoffman's salary is $41,500. Her part-time clerical help costs $4,500. She expects her office expense to be about $2,000. Her mileage and training are estimated to be $600. Her total request of $48,600 was granted.
Circuit Clerk
The Circuit Clerk's office has an increased budget of $8,300 for office expense; $180 for equipment; $500 for mileage and training; $3,000 for court costs; and $1,200 for jury expense. Osage County Circuit Clerk Beth Billington's salary is paid by the state of Missouri, as are those of her employees. The commission granted her total request of $13,180.
Public Administrator
Osage County Public Administrator Paul Stratman is now considered a full-time officeholder. His salary, therefore, increases from $25,000 to $41,500. Office expense ($85), mileage and training ($645), and bond ($464) are in line with 2020 actual expenses. The commission granted his total request of $43,444.
Prosecuting Attorney
The Osage County Prosecuting Attorney's budget is highlighted by officeholder Amanda Grellner's unchanged $51,000 salary. Her assistants cost $34,060, also laboring without raises. Her clerical compensation costs $28,900, up from 2020's $27,717.54. She asked for and received $5,000 more for office expenses. She also requested $1,500 for mileage. There's a required payment of $3,366 to the prosecutor's retirement fund, provided by the county. A subscription to a prosecutor's research tool provided by Karpel Solutions costs $2,700. This is also paid by the county. The commission granted her total request of $132,026.
Coroner
Recently inaugurated Osage County Coroner A.J. Probst will be paid $14,000. His office expense request, granted, of $1,951 is higher than his predecessor's. He requested $3,500 for mileage and was granted $2,000. That's higher than the $638.83 spent in the office in 2020, depressed by the COVID-19 emergency shutdown. He requested $10,500 for inquest costs but was given only $4,200. Actual expenses have gone as low as $3,500 in 2019, but as high as $10,500 in 2018. They can vary wildly. Deputy Coroner Robert Goodenough will receive $1,030 as did his predecessor in 2020. The commissioners cut the total budget request of $31,231 to $23,431. They hope, especially, for a light year of paying for inquests.
Juvenile
The Osage County Juvenile Office requested and received $29,400 for 2021.
Surveyor
Osage County Surveyor Tim Hamburg receives no salary from the county. He expects to charge $1,050 for office expenses and $6,000 for remonumentation.
Other County Government
Other expenses include property, casualty, and liability insurance estimated at $100,340. Copy paper and copier supplies are expected to cost $2,000. Insurance for volunteers may cost $1,500. This was budgeted in 2020, but not needed. However, 911/EMA, the Sheriff, and the Health Department may all use volunteers in situations where they may need to be insured. The commission honored the budget request of $104,641 in this category.
Professional Organizations
County membership on the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) costs $5,300. Dues to the Gasconade Valley Enterprise Zone (GVEZ) are $500. The Missouri Association of Counties (MAC) receives $2,500. The University of Missouri Extension Services Fund gets $42,000. The Extension requested $56,952, slightly higher than in 2020. However, the commission elected to lower the county's contribution. They will give a number more in line with other counties in Osage County's class. Class 3 counties in Missouri pay as little as Pulaski County's $20,000, up from $10,000 in 2019. Only Gasconade County has paid more than what Osage County has been paying. The commission's approval still places Osage County in the upper range. Commissioners approved $50,963 for all professional organizations.
Health Department
The OCHD endured a tough year because of COVID-19. Money was the least of their problems because of the CARES Act. However, keeping staff hired and healthy remains a challenge. Outgoing Administrator Susan Long and incoming Administrator Kim Sallin worked together to propose a total 2021 budget of $379,400.94. COVID-19 is ongoing and the renewal of the CARES Act is uncertain. So they expect needed staffing levels to continue to run ahead of normal years. Therefore, the budget request runs well ahead of those years but it's still well below 2020's inflated expenditure of $337.527.28. That was met only with CARES Act assistance.
The commission approved the request. It includes $174,845.27 of salaries, below 2020's payout of $238,575.85. This reflects hope the coronavirus will come quickly under control. Either that or the CARES Act will be renewed. There is a line item for COVID-19 staffing only which includes $130,500.
Assessor
The Osage County Assessor's Office is funded differently than regular county government offices. Officeholder Jerry Baker's salary, $41,500, is unchanged from past years. That and most of his expenses come directly from a share of real estate and personal property tax. His operation and the expenses thereof are subject to many direct statutory mandates; therefore, they are not governed and negotiated directly by the commission. His specific line items may be seen and studied in the complete budget.
Emergency Fund
The Osage County Emergency Fund has remained untouched for years. In 2020, $70,339 was budgeted. In 2021, the number is $68,370. The number reflects 3% of total estimated revenue.
Road and Bridge
Intergovernmental revenues continue to decrease. Lower fuel consumption means lower County Aid Road Trust (CART) shares. After more than a million dollars in 2018 and 2019, 2021 is expected to drop to $917,965. This includes an estimated $330,000 in Bridge Rural Offset (BRO) funding. This is all on the Shawnee Creek Bridge, now under construction on CR 274A. CART funding from the state of Missouri relies heavily on fuel sales taxes. It is expected to decrease a little from last year's $584,854.88 to $569,670. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has committed $9,875 to buy gravel for county roads leading to MDC properties. An agreement to split expenses on roadbeds shared with Maries County will produce $2,720. Interest income can be predicted at $5,000, and a transfer of $225,000 from the Capital Infrastructure fund will bring total revenue for roads to $1,597,965.
The budget for road repair, primarily gravel, is set at $180,000. Regularly cut in recent years, Osage County Road and Bridge Foreman Ron Kempker's request was honored completely for 2021. The new commission has committed to emphasizing road repair material. Brush control, culverts, and other maintenance materials: the other expenditures in Kempker's budget total $623,000. This number was requested and approved.
Kempker and his crew will share $422,000 in salary and benefits. In addition, the county expects to pay out $3,000 worth of comp time over the year. Workers' compensation costs should be up slightly at $21,500 from 2019's $21,463. Auto and liability insurance is expected to be $500 cheaper at $18,000. Employee Fringe Benefits will cost $113,583, higher than 2020's $86,976.
Kempker's request for new equipment was cut from $120,000 to $100,000. He expected to spend $209,000 on grader lease overages but has been told to keep that down to $126,000. Therefore, his overall budget request of $1,938,833 was cut to $1,835,833.
911/EMA
The 911 account begins 2020 with $68,744.03 carried over from 2020. Estimated revenues are $736,620. From that total of $805,364.03, it appropriates $710,314.26 in the new budget. The projected ending balance is $95,049.77. The main source of revenue is the 911 Sales Tax. That income projects to $685,000. Other income will add another $9,720. A transfer of $41,800 from the Emergency Operations Center is also anticipated.
Law Enforcement is another component of that sales tax. So a $77,000 transfer to the Sheriff's Office will occur. That's down from $150,000 in past years. Staff salaries should be $405,000. The call center should enjoy full staffing this year. Staff shortages in 2019 kept that figure below $400,000, although it incurred a lot of overtime and comp pay. The medical director, legal counsel, and benefits fill personnel costs out to a total of $506,582.
The call center is technologically intensive. Phone lines and computerization are copious and critical. Subscription software, accounts, and maintenance will total $28,839. Other equipment and maintenance will total $88,561.76. The budget estimates mileage and training to cost $5,700. Vehicle maintenance, uniforms, and vehicle and liability insurance add up to $3,631.
The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) carries over a balance of $23,817.68. It estimates revenues of $102,265 and budgets $102,511. They expect $23,571.68 on hand at the end of the year. Most of this budget is office equipment not tied directly to 911 call taking and dispatch. Mapping and emergency management on a larger scale is the center of the mission. The Missouri Department of Public Safety (DPS) provides intergovernmental revenue of $46,415. A grant from Ameren Missouri totals $55,000. These two revenue streams account for most of the funding.
The EOC budgets $20,696 for office equipment, maintenance, and other expenses. Communications equipment, software, backup systems, and other technology will cost $26,084. Vehicle costs, training, and mileage will total $3,600. The aforementioned transfer of $41,800 is the main feature of the balance.
The total budget and all its details can be viewed at osagecountygov.com. It is currently linked from the Osage County website home page.

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