By Lisa Schlichtman
Budget requests totalling $3.8 million have been submitted by Barry County officeholders this week. Barry County commissioners are expected to discuss the spending requests in the coming weeks before the official 2009 budget is approved following the county's annual budget hearing on Thursday, Jan. 22.
Budget requests total $3,839,984, which is less than the $3,983,822 requested last year and just over $200,000 more than the $3,625,071 budget that was approved in 2008.
Throughout the past year, Barry County commissioners have been predicting that 2009 will be a lean year with sales tax revenue expected to be flat. Officeholders seem to have heeded the Commission's warnings and submitted conservative budget requests for the new year.
Almost every officeholder is seeking a small increase in their budget to cover employee salary increases. Last year, the budget did not include pay increases for county employees.
The budget approved by county commissioners in 2008 was actually $200,000 less than the 2007 budget. If the final budget is reduced to the $2.6 million mark, this will be the third year in a row that the county has held the line on any new spending.
A chart detailing 2009 budget requests and comparing them to 2008 actual and approved budget figures accompanies this article.
The Jan. 22 budget hearing will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Barry County Commissioners' meeting room, which is located on the first floor of the Barry County Courthouse in Cassville. The hearing is open to the public.