Claremore Daily Progress

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August 21, 2012

County budget focuses on public safety

CLAREMORE — Rogers County is facing budget issues due to a shortfall of approximately $1 million.

During the commissioners meeting on Monday the department heads and elected officials once again spoke regarding the needs of each group.
Citing moving expenses, furniture and other needs for the new courthouse the commissioners explained that there are just more expenses this year.
Commissioner Kirt Thacker questioned the reasons why these items were not included in the original plans for the courthouse, however no response was provided.
Bill Turner, CPA for Rogers County, presented the 2012-13 budget explaining that the $10.3 million in budgeted items would not include raises or carryover for all departments.
Normally, the county uses funds left from the previous year to help funding for the next years budget.
Sometimes each department is allowed to keep those funds, which then can be used to purchase items that would be difficult to purchase in one fiscal year.
This year will be different, as the county needs the carryover just to meet the demands of the current budget year, according to Turner.
Previously, there was also a discussion of raises for county employees, however that is no longer a budget consideration, he said.
The reason the county is experiencing the shortage relates to the courthouse construction, moving expenses, a new phone system and furniture.
Additionally, the old courthouse will need to be demolished and a parking lot will have to be built, according to the commissioners.
But these are not the only constraints on the budget as several new departments have been added in the past 12 months.
The E911 center will take $348,786 of the budget to pay for five new dispatching positions. This does not include the funds that will be provided from the county’s general fund for expenses or the revenue generated from the 911 taxes that is currently collected from landlines or cell phones.

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