By Susan Redden
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
An increase in sales tax proceeds won’t be a part of projections for a 2013 Jasper County budget, Richard Webster, county auditor, said Tuesday.
Webster told county commissioners that planning toward next year’s budget is under way and that he had sent letters to officeholders asking that they begin work on spending and revenue projections for their departments for next year.
Estimated proceeds of county sales taxes are made by the auditor, and Webster said he is not forecasting increases in receipts, which represent the county’s largest revenue source.
Tax proceeds currently are running 7 percent ahead of those for the same time last year. He said he believes much of the growth is due to rebuilding after the Joplin tornado.
“But how long that will last, no one knows, so we want to be conservative in estimating revenues over the long-term. And, the national economy is still weak, so I’m asking them to consider that when drafting proposed expenditures,” he said.
The county collects a three-eighths percent general sales tax, and separate quarter-cent taxes that generate revenue for law enforcement, and road and bridge projects.
Preliminary budgets for each department are to be completed by Sept. 10 and then will be used by Webster to prepare a proposed budget for action by the County Commission before the end of the year.
Also Tuesday, John Bartosh, presiding commissioner, said he continues to get calls from residents who want the commission to impose a countywide ban on outside burning. Commissioners don’t believe they have the authority to impose such a ban and enforce it. He said he discussed that with Gov. Jay Nixon in a recent visit, and suggested the state could act in the affected counties.
“We can say please don’t burn, and we don’t want anybody burning outside while it’s so dry,” he said. ’“But we can’t find a way to ban it legally, where it has any teeth,” he said.
Jim Honey, Eastern District county commissioner said there will be a meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday with potential contractors interested in bidding on a flood reduction project on Spring River at the Morrow Mill area east of Carthage. He said the gathering will give contractors a chance to ask questions and to look at the project, sponsored jointly by the county and the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Federal funds will pay most of the costs of the project, which will remove a small section of the Morrow Mill dam, stabilize about 400 feet of the river’s bank and fill in much of an area that has been eroded away over the years.
Bids on the work will be opened Aug. 28.
Honey also said the county recently had received a grant of $983 from the Carthage Community Foundation that would go toward preservation projects in the courthouse.
Work has started on county road resurfacing projects for the summer, Honey said. Improvements are scheduled on about 100 miles of road; about 30 have been finished so far. Blevins Asphalt Construction is the contractor.