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County budget amendments OKed
Changes allow departments to better plan, prepare
county commission budget hearing
Barton County commissioners meet Wednesday morning in their Courthouse chamber. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Country announces New Year’s closings

Barton County Office Buildings will be closed Monday in observance of the New Year’s holiday.  The Barton County Landfill, the Records Division of the Sheriff’s Office and the Health Department will also be closed during this time.  Emergency services will be in normal operation.   

The Barton County Commission held  a public hearing on amendments of the 2022 operating budget regarding the general, road and bridge, health, solid waste and 911 tax funds. Following the hearing, commissioners approved the changes.

“Despite the efforts of elected officials and department heads, budget estimates must be adjusted so that funds fall within budgetary laws,” Operations Director Matt Patzner said. Following the hearing, the commission approved the amendments allowing for the current budget to cover the operating expenses and possible transfers to reserves of unanticipated revenue for those funds. 

The amendments include:

• The general fund budget will increase budget by $1.4 million to allow for the transfer of unanticipated revenue and reserve funds for future projects if deemed practical or necessary, Patzner said. 

• Amending the road and bridge budget will increase budget authority by $500,000 to cover additional purchases of aggregate (rock for road surfacing projects) and other consumable goods necessary for operations as well as future road overlay projects that will be funded by Federal Funds Exchange money and other anticipated revenue. 

“This is all unanticipated revenue that they took in this year,” Patzner said. “I believe they are running about 95% of budget authority so they are going to be cutting it pretty close by the end of the year.”

The change accomplishes two things for the county, he said.  It’s making sure they don’t have a budget violation before the end of the year, and it’s giving extra flexibility to make transfers next year.

Budget transfers are made in the spring, closer to the budget planning season.

• The health fund will increase budget authority by $250,000 to cover grant expenditures that were not anticipated at the time of the 2022 budget adoption. 

• Amending the solid waste fund will increase budget authority by $800,000 to cover equipment replacement, and maintenance costs that occurred in 2022, but were anticipated to take place in 2023, as well as any anticipated costs between now and the end of the year. 

• Amending the 911 tax funds will increase budget authority by $100,000 to cover unanticipated equipment maintenance costs that were anticipated at the time of the 2022 budget adoption.

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Wednesday morning:

•  Held a budget amendment hearing for the following Barton County Funds – General Fund, Road and Bridge Fund, Health, Solid Waste and 911 Tax Fund. 

This was followed by the approval of the amended budget during the agenda meeting.

• Approved an application for a zoning amendment resolution requested by Polzin Land LLC, and Tim Garth, dba T&L AG LLC. 

•  Accepted the donation of funds to purchase an automated external defibrillator from Magellan Midstream Partners LP. It is for use at the Barton County Sheriff’s Office, said Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller.

 •  Appointed to the Local Emergency Planning Committee were: Kimberly Clark, UKHS – Great Bend;  Jennifer Hamby, Barton County Solid Waste; Mike Hesher, Eagle Radio – Great Bend; Jamie Tomlinson, Russell Rural Water District 3; Donna Zimmerman, elected official; and Tim McQuade.

The Barton County LEPC is comprised of representatives from the following groups: State/local officials; law enforcement; firefighting; emergency management; health; hospital; broadcast media and/or communications media; transportation; local environmental group; community service/civic group; emergency medical services; and facilities/industries regulated by the 1986 Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act Title III (which requires right-to-know reporting on hazardous/toxic chemicals), said Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller.  

•  Approved the transfer of $3,035 from the Special Alcohol Fund to  the All-Stars program.

•  Approved a resolution transferring of $3,000 from the General Fund to the All-Stars program.

• Approved three Facade Improvement Grant deadline extensions and/or changes:  My Town, LP 1917 Lakin Ave.; Hammond, Inc.; and Boots Wine Bar LLC., 2022 Forest.

• Appointed Cathy Anderson, Jennifer Schartz, Krista Smith and Emily Young to the Health Department Advisory Committee. The uncompensated positions term Dec. 31, 2024.

Barton County solicited applicants for five uncompensated positions for the committee which provides guidance, recommendation and assistance to the Barton County Health Department staff, said Health Director Karen Winkelman 

• Reappointed David Hill and Tammy Sturn to the Center for Counseling and Consultation Board.

This board reviews and makes recommendations on mental health services in Barton County and the surrounding area.   • Appointed Brian Bitter to the Fire District Number 2 Board of Trustees representing Union Township.

Per the resolution creating the district, the members of the board  shall consist of not more than one appointee from each participating township and not more than one from each participating city, said County Operations Director Matt Patzner.  

Trustee positions were advertised for the City of Susank and for North Homestead, South Homestead and Union townships, but Bitter was the only applicant. All positions expire Dec. 31, 2024.