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Commission OKs budget with 6 mill hike
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 It’s a lean budget for lean times.

Citing a $1 million loss in revenue and increased meddling by the Kansas Legislature, a split Barton County Commission Monday morning approved a 2016 operating budget calling for a six mill increase. This takes the county’s mill rate from 37.461 in 2015 to 43.461 and total expenditures from $19,553,150 to $19,734,411.

The county published a budget with the six mill hike to increase county revenues, but County Administrator Richard Boeckman told commissioners they could also opt for a five mill plan that would have included tapping reserves. The goal was to balance paying or county services while keeping spending as close to flat as possible.

When it came time to pass a budget, the vote was 3-2 for the six-mill budget. Voting for it were commissioners Don Davis, Chairman Kenny Schremmer and Jennifer Schartz, and opposed were Homer Kruckenberg and Alicia Straub.

The action followed a public budget hearing during which Boeckman outlined the problems faced by the county and the commission’s options.

In other action Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:

• Adopted the 2016 authorized positions listing. As adopted by the commission, the 2016 budget contains costs associated with personnel for county departments. To assure that offices are operating with appropriate personnel, the 2016 listing includes all County positions, including Central Kansas Community Corrections and 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services, since both fall under the umbrella of county operations.

The total number of listings for 2015 were 181. This year, the number is 182.

• Approved the capital improvement plan. Through the budgeting process, Barton County plans for cash transfers, as savings, to the plan. This plan, as revised each year, allows for the projected maintenance and remodeling of county buildings and major modifications to roads and bridges, Boeckman said.

• Approved the equipment replacement plan. Through the budgeting process, the county also sets money aside for this plan. This plan is also developed and revised annually for to ensure equipment costs are kept at a manageable level, Boeckman said.

• Approved Southwest Developmental Services Inc. as the Community Developmental Disability Organization for the county. Under the 2016 service agreement, SDSI will provide all services required by Kansas statutes for a CDDO for a total of $70,000, Boeckman said.

Southwest contracts with the State of Kansas as a CDDO for an 18-county area in southwest and central Kansas. It has offices in Garden City and Great Bend. SDSI has contracted with Barton County since July 2005.

SDSI does not provide services directly to individuals. It contracts with affiliated community providers and helps coordinate services.