New county budget features pay raises

By H.B. Dodds, Staff Writer
Posted 1/20/22

Osage County Commissioners on Wednesday, Jan. 12 approved the 2022 Osage County budget, which features a pay raise for all full-time county employees who had not received one in the past couple of …

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New county budget features pay raises

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Osage County Commissioners on Wednesday, Jan. 12 approved the 2022 Osage County budget, which features a pay raise for all full-time county employees who had not received one in the past couple of years. The base rate increased from $11.39 per hour to $12.39. Better than 8% at the moment, the base had not been increased since 2018 and over that period of time, struggled to keep up with the increased cost of living.

Expected revenues trend higher for all sales taxes, along with real estate and personal property taxes. The county estimates total assessed valuation at $240,000,000, up from the actual $238,800,000 in 2021. That number came in $16,000,000 better than its estimate in January 2021. The 2022 estimate includes $146,000,000 in real estate, $62,000,000 in personal property, and $32,000,000 in railroad and utility property. All are projecting higher than, or equal to, actual 2021 values. Those either exceeded or matched 2021 projections.

The county owes $809,900 on Courthouse Renovation, with $118,000 in principle retired in 2021.

GENERAL REVENUE

For General Revenue, the county counts on $305,000 from property tax. There should be $670,000 in regular sales tax and $690,000 from Proposition P tax, for a total of $1,360,000.

Commissioners expect intergovernmental revenues to come in at $218,000. This is up from $111,000 in 2021, with new grants and the planned sale of several used vehicles accounting for most of the expected increase. The Deputy Sheriff Supplemental Salary Fund should remain static at $11,000 and there will be an Election Efficiency Grant totaling $3,500.

Charges for services should bring in $808,000, up from $640,000 last year. The big earner is the Osage County Health Department (OCHD), which expects to collect $560,000 in fees. These revenues have been spiking since 2020, much of it from billing patients’ insurance companies. The COVID-19 crisis contributes a lot to this windfall.

Osage County Recorder Cindy Hoffman expects to collect $60,000 in recording fees, down from better than $69,000 in 2021. Numbers continue to be higher than expected but Hoffman continues to moderate her expectations.

The sheriff’s office expects $152,000. This number unexpectedly spiked to $138,000 in 2021. Osage County Sheriff Mike Bonham believes that trend will continue. The Circuit Clerk expects $15,500 and the Public Administrator forecasts $1,000.

Interest income figures to be around $4,500, trending down until rates increase.

Money transferred into General Revenue from other funds should total $106,000. That’s down from $730,000 last year. This trend reflects healthy revenues, demanding less for these transfers.

Total revenue is forecast to be $2,800,000, down from an actual $3,150,000 in 2021. Commissioners chose to hedge their bets against a possible economic downturn. Inflation, COVID-19, and other factors could produce reduced economic vigor. Combined with $708,600 cash available on Dec. 31, 2021, commissioners budgeted $3,508,600.

Total appropriations for 2022 are $3,250,000, about the same as $3,253,060.29 actually spent in 2021. This leaves them with a healthy $257,400 carryover. Should an economic downturn occur, that could come in handy.

COUNTY GOVERNMENT SUMMARY

The County Commission budgets $106,870, County Clerk $116,660, Elections $57,800, Buildings and Grounds $70,935, County Treasurer $48,420, Employee Fringe Benefits $300,133, County Collector $116,370, Recorder of Deeds $51,800, Public Administrator $42,940, Circuit Clerk $18,400, Prosecuting Attorney $151,186, Juvenile Officer $33,800, County Coroner $27,825, County Health Department $562,130.59, Transfers out $6,600, Emergency Fund $85,325, and Other, including property and liability insurance, professional organization dues, and surveyor, $189,916.

SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Sheriff Mike Bonham’s salary will be raised by state statute to $56,000. Total deputy salary investment in 2022 is planned to be $365,900, up from 2021’s actual $317,300. That number, though, was achieved due to chronic staff shortages throughout the year. Bonham has budgeted for one less deputy this year, although he plans to add a jailer.

Clerical salaries will decrease to $38,100 from $84,850 paid in 2021. Compensation for those employees is actually increasing but much of it will come from the Osage County Jail budget. Other office compensation should total $22,917. Office expense is budgeted for $14,000. Uniforms should cost $6,200. DFFFS Grant Pay will be $15,600. MoDOT Grant pay is expected to be $6,100. 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 $45,000, with $147,600 budgeted for new vehicles.

Staff training is budgeted at $4,500. The Mid-Mo Drug Task Force gets $10,000 from Osage County, and new bulletproof vests will be rotated in at a cost of $1,200. The total sheriff’s office appropriation is $856,454.70. 

“Salaries and vehicles will be our biggest expense increase,” said Bonham.

JAIL

The requested Jail employee salary total was increased this year to $284,900. That’s up from 2021’s actual total of $207,100 and reflects the aforementioned additional jail employee. Other employees will receive a total of $48,100, accounting for the shift from Sheriff’s Office clerical salary. The Board of Prisoners budget was increased to $38,000, down from $42,150 actually spent in 2021. Maintenance and equipment should cost $1,840, office supplies $7,000, and prisoner medical expense $7,000. Crimestar software will cost $3,500. The total 2022 jail budget is $406,800.

COUNTY COMMISSION

The County Commission budget increased to $106,870, up from the 2021 expenditure of $105,000. Commissioner salaries remain unchanged and will total $84,170. Those salaries increase at the staggered beginning of terms through future election cycles. Mileage and training were budgeted at $2,000. Part-time clerical salary increased to $15,500.

COUNTY CLERK

The County Clerk’s budget expects an increase from $108,000 in actual expenses in 2021 to $116,660. Kammerich’s salary is unchanged at $41,500. That number will increase in 2023. Her staff totals $61,660 more, with each employee receiving a raise. She expects office expenses of $12,000, and mileage and training to total $1,500.

ELECTIONS

A general election is scheduled in November 2022, as well as preceding primaries. The budgeted $57,800 is predictably higher than 2021’s outlay of $13,421.50. There will be some statewide and local elections, but no presidential ballot.

BUILDING AND GROUNDS

Osage County Building and Grounds Janitorial and Maintenance Worker John Kennedy’s salary will increase to $33,050. With comp time and overtime, he made better than $31,300 in 2021. The total Building and Grounds budget is $70,935, higher than the $63,500 spent in 2021. Courthouse supplies ($3,000) and utilities ($30,000) forecast higher, reflecting expectations of inflation. Repairs and upkeep ($4,885) are predicted above the $3,900 spent in 2021.

TREASURER

Osage County Treasurer Tim Neuner’s salary remains unchanged at $41,500. As with other elected officials, his salary will increase in January 2023. His office expense budget is $2,500. The office equipment budget increased slightly to $1,200. He expects mileage and training to increase to $1,200 due to stiff inflation of the price of fuel.

COLLECTOR

Osage County Collector Denise Nolte’s $116,370 request was granted. Her salary is $43,300 until January 2023, and her staff will be paid another $36,070, up from 2021’s $32,000. She plans to spend $1,200 on new office equipment. Her office expenses are expected to increase to $35,500.

RECORDER OF DEEDS

Osage County Recorder Cindy Hoffman’s salary is $41,500 until January 2023. Her part-time clerical help costs $4,700. She expects her office expense to be about $5,000. Her mileage and training are estimated to be $600. Her total request of $51,800 was granted.

CIRCUIT CLERK

The Circuit Clerk’s office has a budget of $8,600 for office expense, $200 for equipment, $600 for mileage and training, $3,000 for court costs, and $6,000 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 $18,400.

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATOR

Osage County Public Administrator Paul Stratman’s salary is $41,500 until January 2023. Office expense ($140), mileage and training ($700), and bond ($600) are budgeted higher than 2021 actual expenses, anticipating inflation. The commission granted his total request of $42,940.

PROSECUTING ATTORNEY

The Osage County Prosecuting Attorney’s budget is highlighted by officeholder Amanda Grellner’s unchanged $51,000 salary. Her assistants’ salaries total $36,650 after raises. Her clerical compensation costs $30,970, up from  $28,900 in 2021. She asked for and received $6,000 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 research tool provided by Karpel Solutions totaling $2,700 is also paid by the county. The commission granted her total request of $151,186.

CORONER

Osage County Coroner A.J. Probst will be paid $14,000. His approved office expense request of $850 is lower than he spent in 2021. He gets $1,000 for mileage, more than the $790 he spent in 2021. He requested and received $9,075 for inquest costs. Deputy Coroner Robert Goodenough will receive a raise to $2,000. Probst’s total request of $27,825 was granted.

JUVENILE

The Osage County Juvenile Office requested $42,495 but received $33,800. Only $23,850 of $29,400 budgeted was spent in 2021. 

SURVEYOR

Osage County Surveyor Tim Hamburg receives no salary from the county. He expects to charge $1,350 for office expenses and $6,000 for remonumentation. The total $7,350 budget is less than $300 higher than 2021’s expense.

OTHER COUNTY GOVERNMENT

Other expenses include property, casualty, and liability insurance, estimated at $125,000. Copy paper and copier supplies are expected to cost $2,000. Commission honored the budget request of $127,851 in this category.

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

County Membership on the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) costs $5,500. Dues to the Gasconade Valley Enterprise Zone (GVEZ) are $500. The Missouri Association of Counties (MAC) receives $3,000.

The University of Missouri Extension Services Fund gets $45,000. Extension requested $58,468, much higher than the $42,000 of county money spent in 2021. That was cut from $56,000 in 2020. County Engagement Specialist Elizabeth Anderson told commissioners that some services were cut in 2021, but commissioners chose to give only $3,000 more. 

“I’m into trying to economize as much as possible,” said Anderson.

Commissioners approved $54,715 for all professional organizations.

HEALTH DEPARTMENT

The OCHD endured another tough COVID-19 year. Money was the least of their problems because of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). However, keeping staff hired and healthy remains a challenge. Administrator Kim Sallin proposed a total 2022 budget of $562,130.59. She expects needed staffing levels to continue to run ahead of normal years. Therefore, the request runs ahead of past years, including the $424,500 spent in 2021.

Commissioners approved the request, which includes $272,300 in salaries, below 2021’s payout of $331,500. Last year’s line item for COVID-19 staffing only included $130,500. That was eliminated this year and absorbed permanently into the regular budget. Neither Sallin nor commissioners feel the coronavirus is going away any time soon.

Any shortfall in salary and other COVID-related expenses are eligible for ARPA funds but, by law, they can’t be planned for as regular budget items. This explains the lack of any line items related to the new OCHD building. It has been purchased and will be remodeled in 2022 with ARPA funds. When ARPA expires, utilities, maintenance, and insurance will be in the county budget.

ASSESSOR

The Osage County Assessor’s Office is funded differently than regular county government offices. Officeholder Tina Kammerich’s salary of $41,500 is unchanged until January 2023. That and most of her expenses come directly from a share of real estate and personal property taxes. Her operation and expenses are subject to many direct statutory mandates. Therefore, they are not governed and negotiated directly by the commission. Her 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 2021, $68,370 was budgeted. In 2022, the number is $85,325. The number reflects 3% of total estimated revenue.

 

ROAD AND BRIDGE

Intergovernmental revenues have reversed and are now showing a modest increase. County Aid Road Trust (CART) shares increased to $628,400 in 2021, better than 2020’s $584,800. The estimate in 2022 is $642,500. The total from other government sources is expected to be $657,600. Property tax income is forecast to be $450,000. Adding interest income, the total expected revenues are $1,109,600. The department had $114,270 cash on hand at the end of 2021.

Commissioners have advice from MRPC that some road work may be eligible for ARPA funding. Those expenditures, like expectations for OCHD, cannot appear in the budget. Therefore, the 2022 budget cannot reflect commissioners’ hopes for that maintenance. They left some projects they hope to have qualified out of this document.

The budget for road repair, primarily gravel, remains at $180,000. Brush control, culverts, and other maintenance materials: the other expenditures in Kempker’s budget total $297,000. This number was requested and approved. It’s significantly lower than 2021’s actual $700,000, but that was inflated with a Bridge Rural Offset (BRO) project bridge on CR 274A over Shawnee Creek. Commissioners are now beginning study for a new BRO project. They don’t expect any construction in 2022.

Kempker and his crew will share $423,000 in salary and benefits. In addition, the county expects to pay out $6,000 worth of comp time over the year. Workers’ compensation costs should be up slightly at $23,000 from 2021’s $22,000. Auto and liability insurance is expected up some at $21,000. Employee Fringe Benefits will cost $113,245, higher than 2021’s $102,550, a number depressed by chronic staffing shortages.

The overall budget request of $1,314,760.48 was approved.

911/EMA

The 911 account begins 2022 with $219,800 carried over from 2021. Estimated revenues are $849,200. From that total of $1,059,00, $824,800 is appropriated in the new budget. The projected ending balance is about $244,000. The main source of revenue is the 911 Sales Tax, with projected income of $700,000. Other income will add another $12,000. A transfer of $35,000 from the Osage County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is also anticipated.

Law Enforcement is another component of that sales tax so a $100,000 transfer to the Sheriff’s Office will occur, up from $77,000 in 2021. Staff salaries should be $441,500. The call center should enjoy full staffing this year. Staff shortages in 2021 kept that figure below $430,000, although a lot of overtime and comp pay were expended. The medical director, legal counsel, and benefits round out personnel costs to a total of $546,000.

The call center is technology-intensive. Phone lines and computerization are copious and critical. Subscription software, accounts, and maintenance will total $30,439. Other equipment and maintenance will total $38,500. That’s a $50,000 decrease from 2021’s actual expense, reflecting Director Ron Hoffman’s plan to replace the agency’s telephone system. The new system will be installed with an eye to addressing possible COVID-19 emergencies, therefore qualifying for ARPA funds. It will remain off-budget until the ARPA regime expires. The budget estimates mileage and training to increase to $6,150. 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 $3,000.

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