February 03, 2023

County budget process concludes with department heads

Adair County Engineer Nick Kauffman presented all facets of his department’s projected budget for fiscal year 2024 Wednesday, Jan. 11 to the board of supervisors.

All other department heads also gave budget requests to the supervisors in other recent meetings.

The engineer’s budget includes many areas. It is by far the largest part of the total county budget. The supervisors are gathering information for the fiscal year 2024 budget, which takes effect July 1, 2023 but needs to be approved in March.

“Inflation and fuel have hit us really hard,” Kauffman explained. His numbers reflected a 9.5% raise given to employees, which is the target amount the compensation board gave the supervisors at the start of the process.

“One percent on our salaries is about $15,426. That’s with 30 employees,” he said.

The secondary roads portion of the budget has an area for administration and engineering, which includes salaries for those individuals and data processing. There is a bridges and culverts section and one for roads, which is very broad and adds up to approximately $2 million. Areas are spelled out for road clearing, snow removal materials and salaries, signs, new equipment, fuel, and tools, materials and supplies.

There are separate budgets the engineer spoke about that are for safety, the weed commissioner, 911 and farm to market roads.

The engineer also spoke about the differences in revenue sources like property tax, road use tax, Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) and tax increment financing (TIF). They each have specific ways a county can spend that money.

Projects pegged for LOST include a culvert in Section 29 of Prussia Township, one in Section 25 of Grand River Township, one in Section 17 of Richland Township, and a bridge in Section 5 of Richland Township that are all carryover from FY 2023. New LOST projects for FY 2024 is design for a bridge in Section 16 of Washington Township. Components have to be delivered in Adair County for the county to take advantage of this revenue. Kauffman said revenue in this area is especially hard to project.

Farm to market projects in this fiscal year included extensions to culverts on Fontanelle Road, crack sealing, paint markings and a rock contract. For the upcoming fiscal year, these funds total an estimated $907,924 and are earmarked for the resurfacing of P48 near Dexter (which is a joint project between Guthrie and Dallas counties) and a rock contract.

The engineer estimated projects totaling over $2.5 million from TIF revenue. Projects on this list include bridges in Section 22 of Lee Township, Section 33 of Orient township, Section 13 of Jefferson Township and Section 14 of Jefferson Township. Bridge and culverts are set to be worked on in Sections 26 and 11 of Lincoln Township. Additional culverts will be done in Section 11 of Union Township and two in Section 12 of Harrison Township.

In budget requests from other department heads, a highlight from the conservation budget request from director Dominic Johnson is money for two pit latrines to be placed in county parks.

Sheriff Jeff Vandewater spoke about raising wages for the jail matron and the cleaning personnel at the jail.

Attorney Melissa Larson talked about the only changes to her budget being salary and hourly wages for employees.

Recorder Janelle Schneider and Treasurer Brenda Wallace each reported that their budgets were somewhat usual from recent years.

Courthouse custodian Rich Wallace met with the supervisors to talk about his budget for the coming year and reported to them his intentions to retire at the close of this calendar year.

The compensation board at the end of 2022 and presented the supervisors with a proposal that elected officials get a 9.5% salary increase for fiscal year 2024 and that the county attorney receive a post salary increase of $7,500. All department heads used these figures in building their budget proposals for the supervisors.

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.