Archive for Wednesday, October 17, 2001

County facing revenue shortfall

October 17, 2001

Leavenworth County Commission Chairman Don Navinsky had a heart-to-heart talk with county department heads last week.

The topic was finances.

Increases in costs for utilities, gasoline and operation of the county infirmary are taking a toll. In addition, the county isn't receiving what it anticipated in interest rates.

So while expenses are increasing, revenues are falling. The combination spells economic headaches for the county.

"It's become quite apparent that we are going to be down a substantial amount on our revenues," Navinsky said following the meeting.

More than nine months into the 2001 budget year, the county has collected about 87 percent of anticipated revenues. That means it still has more than $1 million to go during the remaining 2 1/2 months.

"We know some of these aren't going to come through," Navinsky said as he thumbed through a budget report.

He and other commissioners are considering their options. They want a reduction on spending, and it's possible that personnel vacancies won't be filled immediately, Navinsky said.

Among the numerous lower-than-anticipated revenues are:

Zoning fees. The county had budgeted receipts of $125,000, but has received only $30,998.

Revenue sharing. The county had anticipated $490,000, but received about $200,000.

Board of prisoners. The budget contained $563,859 for reimbursements from other jurisdictions to house prisoners in the jail. But that fund is coming up about $530,000 short. "It's not going to come in," Navinsky said. "We haven't boarded any prisoners from outside the county."

Some funds, however, are doing better than county officials thought they would. For example:

Fees from jail inmates' use of pay telephones is $30,665 higher than the $5,000 budgeted.

Diversion fees collected by the county attorney's office are $61,000 higher than the $140,000 that was anticipated.

But those do not balance out those funds that have not generated sufficient revenue, Navinsky said.

"If the revenue doesn't come in, you've got to stop the spending," he said.

So it's possible that department heads will have to revise their budgets.

"Commissioners are basically saying we're going to look at this and we may have to say give us a revised budget at a certain percent, say 90 percent," the commission chairman said.

A reduction in spending will have to make up the difference, he said. That means curtailment of travel, educational classes for employees and overtime.

And department heads may not be allowed to fill personnel vacancies.

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