Mercer County revenue projected to be up 2 percent

April 28, 2004|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - Revenue in the Mercer County Fiscal Court treasury is projected to be up about $68,000 or 2 percent for the next fiscal year.

The budget projects next year's appropriations to be $6,258,032, compared to $6,363,230 projected for the current fiscal year. Mercer County Judge-Executive John Trisler reminded magistrates that the budget is merely an estimate and the figures in the budget are not absolute revenues or expenditures.

Projected spending and revenue from the county's general fund is down by $1 million, but most of that loss is through grants and not money paid directly by Mercer County taxpayers.

Trisler explained that money that comes from state and federal grants is $1.2 million less for the 2004-2005 fiscal year, but the county is not receiving less money. Much of that grant money is going directly to the agencies and, therefore is not part of the county's estimated revenues.


Much of the grant money will go directly to North Mercer Water District and Lake Village Water Association.

Trisler said a major renovation project at the Mercer County Courthouse will be paid for by the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The projected expenditures for the county road department are all higher than the projected spending in last year's budget. Trisler said employee health insurance is up $17,000, equipment is up $11,000 and funds for materials and expenses are expected to be $85,000 more than last year. Those materials go for paving county roads and repairing shoulders and ditches along county roads.

A major project, the replacement of a bridge on Oregon Road, will increase expenditures by $725,000, but most of the cost of that project will be paid for by grants and work will not be done if grant money is not coming to pay for that.

The county's third most-expensive department is the jail fund. Mercer and Boyle counties are jointly responsible for the operation of the jail. The amount Mercer pays is based on the percentage of Mercer prisoners that make up the population of the Boyle County Detention Center.

Currently, Mercer County inmates make up 36 percent of the population. For each $100,000 needed for jail operations, Mercer County pays $36,000. Before Trisler presented the budget, magistrates approved the transfer of $72,000 to the jail fund for two $36,000 payments. The judge said the county has been adding $36,000 to the jail fund every other month.

The proposed budget calls for $683,300 expenditures for the jail for the upcoming fiscal year. That is down from $715,000 budgeted last year. "We budgeted more than we spent last year and we're hoping we've done that this year," Trisler said.

Trisler lists the future cost of the jail as a main concern for the budgets to come. "In my opinion (Boyle County Jailer) Barry Harmon, Phil Yates and their staff are doing a better job (operating the jail)."

Through careful management of the county's money and the continued support in grants the county has received from state and federal agencies, the judge says the other costs of county government can be managed.

"Another thing that is real important on the revenue side is the $1,598,150 in grants and pass through money, Trisler said. "That's 25 percent of the money we operate off of. The balance of the money is money we use year to year."

Mercer County magistrates will vote on the budget at the 9 a.m. May 11 meeting.

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