The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 16, 2014

Newton County Commission approves $9.6 million budget

NEOSHO, Mo. — The Newton County Commission on Thursday approved a $9.6 million budget for 2014.

The budget was approved after a public hearing, which drew no comments.

Revenues are estimated at $7.9 million this year, to which a carry-over of $1.7 million from 2013 will be added to balance the plan.

The 2013 budget cited $9.9 million in total revenue and spending of $9.4 million.

The county budget is primarily funded with a sales tax of seven-eighths of a cent. Revenue from the tax in 2013 totaled $5,885,508, a decline of less than 1 percent from the 2012 figure of $5,919,961.

Marilyn Ruestman, presiding county commissioner, has called the 2014 plan a “zero-growth budget.”

The budget statement notes that the decrease in sales tax revenue was expected.

“The tax growth precipitated by rebuilding following the 2011 tornado has stabilized and is predicted to remain stable,” reads part of the statement. “Premiums are higher for liability, workers’ compensation and second injury fund coverage.”

County Auditor Charlotte Walker Ward said in a phone conversation after the hearing that money from fees and other county revenue sources also declined.

Road work

A QUARTER-CENT SALES TAX approved by Newton County voters in 2011 resulted in nearly 50 miles of newly surfaced roads in 2013. Three bridges also were replaced.

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