A decrease in collections could create challenges for the Rogers County Commissioners as they begin the process to balance the annual budget.
CPA Bill Turner reports collections are down $500,000.
Department heads and elected officials submitted a proposed budget, collectively exceeding the $19.3 million in available revenue by $3.9 million.
Commissioner Dan DeLozier said there would need to be cuts, but this is a normal part of the process.
County revenue is generated through state tax collections or fee accounts, and actual collections could be higher than initial estimates used during the process.
The draft budget, presented to the board, is just that an estimate, according to commissioner Mike Helm.
If the county is due any refunds or there are unused funds not yet included in the estimate, it could help bring the numbers in line, according to Helm.
In an effort to overcome the decreased funding, the board will revisit a decision to spend “excess” Use Tax funds.
The funding, previously dedicated to economic development, was used to pay courthouse construction expenses, as well as, employee raises.
Approximately, $670,000 was allocated from the Excess Use Tax account for the expenditures. The remaining balance, in the account, may not be sufficient to continue funding the pay increases supported by commissioners Helm and Kirt Thacker.
Last year, the decision sparked a debate concerning the board’s ability to use the account. It was established to hold excess funds remaining each month after monies dedicated to the repayment of the $23.5 million courthouse and $3.25 million E911 Center bonds were collected.
Helm said it is not “excess” money. “Once the bond payment is done, it is in the bond to use the leftover money as the commissioners see fit,” Helm said.
The board’s authority to spend the money may not be up for discussion. However, last year DeLozier cautioned Helm and Thacker about the long-term availability of the funds. He predicted the county would face a budget shortfall if spending trends continued.
DeLozier did not support the measure and refused to take the pay increase.
A special budget meeting is scheduled at 2 p.m. on Monday in the commissioners’ meeting room located on the first floor in the courthouse.