Claremore Daily Progress

August 28, 2013

Commissioners to cut $2.25M in funding requests

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter


The Rogers County commissioners are preparing to cut approximately $2.25 million in funding requests to finalize the $18.9 million 2013-14 budget.
The Board decided Monday to schedule a special meeting on Sept. 4 to review all budget requests.
Commonly referred to as a budget shortfall, the cuts are actually requests for appropriations based on each department’s estimate of needs.
Each year county department heads and elected officials submit an estimate to the board of county commissioners for approval.
Commissioners report ad valorem funding increased by approximately $225,000 in 2013.
Despite the increase in tax revenue, an increase in funding requests and the use of reserve funding in 2013 account for the $2.25 million excess, according to CPA Bill Turner.
Commissioner Mike Helm attributed the issue to elected officials including courthouse move expenses, such as furniture or telephone purchases, to the current budget.
Helm said the board will ask officials to verify the expenses have been removed from their current estimate.
Another issue for the board is the approximately $800,000 in funding for the 911 Center.
Helm has been working to determine the operating cost for the center to make a transition in cost allocations once the center is fully functional.
For now, the board will begin the process of negotiating budget cuts with each department.
General county government expenses alone have increased from about $4 million to $4.5 million, according to Turner’s estimated budget.
The new subaccount has been added for employee insurance and benefits accounting for approximately $2.6 million of the general government expenses.
General government building expenses have increased by $100,000 after moving into a new facility in April.
This does not include $20,000 in new maintenance department expenses.
A $50,000 increase in auditing expenses is another addition to this year’s budget.
The Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspectors office is currently conducting a two- year audit that began in May.
The commissioners’ office is requesting an increase of $208,869, sheriff’s office $410, 874, information technology $14, county clerk $33,053, court clerk $129,120, human resources $83,916, election board $13,233, planning commission $51,744, emergency management $106,514, E911 dispatching $657,615, accounting for approximately $1.7 million of the new appropriations.
Only three departments have requested less funding this year, the county treasurer, assessor and OSU extension office lowered appropriations by a total of approximately $52,000. 
The increase in the commissioners’ office could be a direct result of the recent One-Cent vote. Instead of taking funding from the One-Cent sales tax fund to pay the commissioners salaries, the board is now allocating the funds from the general government account.
Commissioner Dan DeLozier is the only commissioner to lower his appropriations for the One-Cent sales tax fund to account for the portion of the tax to be applied to the debt in the Material Services lawsuit.
Commissioners Thacker and Helm have increased their One-Cent Sales tax appropriations by approximately $700,000.