Webster Co. hears budget proposals

The Webster County Board of Supervisors held its first day of 2014 budget hearings Tuesday.

The heads of six county departments explained their proposed budgets for the upcoming fiscal year to the board for their consideration.

Some of the budgets were a decrease from 2013 while others saw a slight increase, even with a proposed 2 to 3 percent salary increase for employees of the departments.

The Webster County attorney requested a budget of $907,396 for 2014, a decrease of nearly $18,000 from the department’s 2013 budget of 925,306.

Webster County Attorney Ricki Osborn said several expenses will be able to be covered by revenue generated from the collection of fines.

“We were able to add in where salaries will increase, but were able to take away where the collections fees are coming in,” said Osborn.

Collections will decrease from the budgeted $70,000 in 2013 to $40,000 for 2014.

Webster County Treasurer Jan Messerly proposed a budget of $680,062, an increase from $634,619 in 2013. The increase includes salary increases as well the promotion of one clerk to deputy and the possible replacement of the clerk. With the promotion, Messerly said both the tax and motor vehicle departments would have two deputies, which would not change due to segregation of job responsibilities between each of the four employees.

“They all do different things,” said Messerly. “And the deputies can do my job when I am out of the office.”

Other proposed increases in the Treasurer’s Department included office supplies, phone, school of instruction, office equipment and furniture.

The Webster County Conservation Board presented a proposed annual budget of $1,028,123 for fiscal year 2014. The proposed budget is a decrease from $1,032,673 in 2013.

Webster County Conservation Director Matt Cosgove said one contributing factor to the lower budget is no request for motor vehicle funds in 2014. The department budgeted $27,000 in that area for 2013 for the purchase of a new vehicle.

Areas that saw an increase included $15,000 for the purchase of equipment in the Conservation’s rural services budget and a $5,000 increase for building improvements.

“We have a master plan for Kennedy Park, we would like to get started on some of those projects next year,” said Cosgrove.

Webster County Engineer Randy Will proposed a $10,738,113 budget for 2014, a decrease from 2013’s 11,654,680.

“The savings we have are mainly due to an overtime factor,” said Will. “We budget what everyone makes for overtime, and if we have a mild winter that is where we have a savings.”

Amy Porter, Human Resources/Risk Management director proposed a budget of $102,995 for the 2014 year, an increase from $94,181 in 2013. Webster County Auditor Carol Messerly said the increase is due to Human Resources being a newly created department with a director’s position that has only been in place since October 2013.

Andy McGill, county data processing manager, proposed a budget of $564,992, for Management of Information Systems, an increase from 453,274 in 2013.

McGill said he is planning to replace several outdated computers and servers in 2014.

“This is something we have done without, we could go another year, but we are working with an aged system,” said McGill. “Some of these systems are seven or more, even 10 or 11 years old and they are slowing down.”

The computer upgrades will likely be paid out of capital projects, which would decrease the proposed MIS budget by $90,000, Messerly said.