The 2012 Barton County budget, approved by the majority of the Barton County Commission Monday, will raise more money than did the 2011 budget, though it does not increase the mill levy.
It does that because each mill is worth more, and therefore costs taxpayers more.
The money is all still coming from county property taxpayers, Commissioner John Edmonds noted. Edmonds was the sole vote against the 2012 budget, which keeps the mill levy at 32.099 mills. However, due to the increased valuation, the county will actually bring in almost 8 percent more in taxes in 2012 than in 2011.
County Administrator Richard Boeckman said the commission invested a great deal of time in the budget and it was designed to meet the commission’s priorities, detailed during the budget process.
• Keep the mill levy stable at the 2011 level.
• Provide sufficient funding for the county departments to operate.
• Provide appropriate support for the other agencies that depend on help from the county.
• Continue to invest in the county infrastructure, especially in the county’s roads and bridges.
• Provide a modest pay raise for county employees — the budget includes a 2.5 percent increase for all employees, including elected officials and the commissioners.
• Invest in public safety. The 2012 budget includes increased spending in the county jail to hire three additional detention officers.
Boeckman explained earlier that, due to the increase of 7.7 percent in the valuation, the county will see a revenue increase of about $597,000.
Most county departments will remain at the 2011 level in the proposed budget. The budget would also provide for the addition of three more detention officers at the county jail, approved as a safety measure, it was noted. The county ambulance services would see a total increase of $25,000 for training. And Sunflower Diversified was funded $25,000 for the early child education program, which had been completely cut last year.
Sunflower Director Jim Johnson thanked the commission for the inclusion, Monday, but he also noted that in the current economy it is difficult to make up the difference between that $25,000 funding and the $54,000 that was cut out two years ago.