Claremore Daily Progress

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September 25, 2013

County budget nearing balance

CLAREMORE —

Rogers County budget woes pushed commissioners to make a third round of cuts to bring finances in line.
Commissioners hope to make a final decision on Monday, despite making approximately $300,000 in new cuts to the county budget.
Departments gave back funding by lowering their requests, while the commissioners cut approximately $700,000 in road funding.
Those cuts left some department budgets below last year’s funding,  including Assessor Scott Marsh, who cut an additional $18,000 bringing his total budget about $100,000 less than  last year.
“I am just trying to help, although it is going to be rough,” Marsh said.
Treasurer Cathy Pinkerton-Baker volunteered another $27,500 from her budget, also lowering her numbers below last year.
The county clerk, court clerk and sheriff’s office also made additional cuts to assist the overall budget.
Commissioner Kirt Thacker asked each department to look at how to save money.
The sheriff’s office had increased their budget to implement a new mobile data system to allow deputies to have cameras and computers in their patrol vehicles.
Thacker requested the project be implemented in stages to save funding and questioned the department’s fuel expenses.
“It is a need-based budget,” Thacker said. “I can see just in fuel, the sheriff’s office spends more in fuel then I do in District 3.”
The response from Undersheriff Jon Sappington was simply, “we run 24 hours a day.”
The sheriff’s maintenance and operations budget was decreased by $18,000, with the understanding if fuel costs exceeded resources the department would come back to the commissioners for more funding.
Other new expenses were discussed,  including the cost of the pending grand jury petition.
“What do you anticipate this overly zealous political witch hunt to cost the taxpayers of Rogers County?” Thacker asked.
Election Board Secretary Julie Dermody said she was expecting an increase of about $1,000 for verifying signatures.
The budget is balanced as it stands and commissioners will make the final decision on Monday during their next meeting. 

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