County officials prepare for start of new fiscal year
Salesha Wilken Staff Writer
Rogers County Commissioners met Monday to open several bids for materials and accept temporary appropriations prior to the close of the fiscal year.
Each year in June, elected officials and department heads submit an estimate of needs for the upcoming year.
These estimates are then approved by the county excise board and used to make the new budget.
The items are a “wish list,” according to Commissioner Kirt Thacker. The commissioners will determine how funds are to be allocated, he added.
The temporary appropriations will provide operating funds for the county until the final budget is approved.
Some county offices are funded under the appointment of the board, including emergency management, planning commission, human resources, maintenance, information technology and E911.
These departments along with elected officials, including the Rogers County Assessor, Treasurer, Clerk, Sheriff and Court Clerk, provided estimated expenses by category: salaries, mileage, travel, maintenance and operations, capital outlay and computer maintenance.
Human Resource Director Jenny Bentley is requesting an increase of approximately $53,000 in this year’s budget primarily for computer maintenance.
Emergency Management Director Scotty Stokes is increasing his budget by approximately $85,000. One of Stoke’s new expenses for 2013-14 is the county’s new early warning system that was approved by the commissioners in May.
E911 Director Janet Hamilton is requesting approximately $46,000 less than last year.
The commissioners recently requested Hamilton review E911 Center participation to provide funding for $360,000 for employee salaries.
Commissioner Dan DeLozier is requesting approximately $200,000 less than last year for his one-cent appropriations, lowering his budget from about $2.8 million to $2.6 million.
Thacker is increasing his budget of one-cent appropriations by approximately $300,000, from about $2.5 million to $2.8 million.
Commissioner Mike Helm did not provide last year’s total on his request for appropriations, however he is requesting approximately $2.4 million for 2013-14.
Most departments accounted for an increase in personal services, the fund used to pay employee salaries.
Thacker said he would be looking to fund a pay increase for all county employees this year, as they have not seen an increase in approximately five years.
At this time it is uncertain what the total request for funding will be. Last year, the county had approximately $18 million in the budget.
Budget cuts required county officials to use a portion of reserve funds and all carryover from departments to meet the budget.
No preliminary figures have been provided at this time and the Rogers County Excise Board will be meeting 9 a.m. Thursday to review the temporary requests.
In other business, the board reviewed and opened several bids for materials.
The bids included asphalt, rock and other construction materials.
On many items the board voted to accept the bids allowing them to choose the closest and first available vendor.
No procedures for documenting the selection of vendors is currently in place, however the board plans to make sure that is done in the future, according to DeLozier.
By allowing the commissioners the option to choose the vendor, the board is eliminating issues with roadwork, according to Thacker.
Sometimes the road is prepared for completion and no vendor is available, he added.
By accepting all the bids, the commissioners have more options to get the job done, according to Thacker.