Funds remain tight for Barry County

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Money will remain tight for Barry County in 2013, according to initial budget information released by Barry County Clerk Gary Youngblood this past week.

Budget requests submitted by county officeholders in 2013 total $3,290,448, which is $215,925 less than spending plan approved in 2012. Last year, the county came in slightly under budget, spending $3,391,246 of the $3,506,373 allocated.

In 2012, county law enforcement funding took a big hit after voters failed to pass a law enforcement sales tax in November 2011. Due to lack of resources, Sheriff Mick Epperly was forced to cut three deputies and three part-time jail employees from his staff, decreasing his total budget from $1,079,930 in 2011 to $980,320 in 2012.

This year, the sheriff is requesting $605,776 for his department plus $385,030 to operate the jail. These figures are only about $10,000 higher than 2012 budget numbers, which means law enforcement cuts are not expected to be restored in 2013.

The Barry County Commission has reduced its budget requests by $133,835 in 2013 to $203,465. This decrease reflects the fact that the Christopher Collings' and David Spears' murder cases were resolved in 2012. The county commission budgeted $185,000 last year to cover the cost of trying two capital murder trials.

The county has zeroed out its capital projects in 2013 after making the final payment of $48,000 on the county's jail expansion project.

Sales tax totals for Barry County's general fund were $1,757,171.42 in 2012, which reflected a 4 percent decrease from the previous year.

County residents may offer input on the county budget plan during a public hearing scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24 in the commissioners' room located on the first floor of the Barry County Courthouse.

Additional cuts or changes to the 2013 budget could be made before the Barry County Commission approves a final budget document. This action will not take place until after the public hearing.

A chart detailing 2013 budget requests by department accompanies this article.

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