Few suprises in initial county budget talks

Supervisors to continue initial budgeting session on Friday


LEE COUNTY – A morning session of initial budget talks indicated budget numbers could come in pretty close to 2019 forecasts, but the afternoon session saw some spikes.

Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber, County Attorney Ross Braden and County Treasurer Chris Spann all presented very similar budgets to last year.

Weber presented a $4.18 million budget, the second largest department budget. Sheriff’s expenses indicate a 2% reduction over 2019’s re-estimated numbers. The county board approved a $4.06 million budget in 2019, but after amendments that budget came out to be $4.26 million.

Weber told the board he was expecting revenues of just over $900,000. About $413,000 of that is from housing inmates from other counties. Lee County made about $475,000 in 2019 from those revenues, which go into the county’s general fund.

Braden submitted a budget of just over $1 million for the county with revenues estimated at about $148,000. Braden’s expenses represent about a 4% increase over 2019’s re-estimated numbers. Spann asked the board for $781,600, a 2.3% increase over 2019’s figures.

Improvements to Lee County’s parks could cost the county close to half a million in 2020.

Lee County Conservation Director Nathan Unsworth presented the county a $1.87 million budget, up from $1.21 million re-estimated in 2019. Proposed park improvements are budgeted at about $250,000 over 2019 from the department’s maintenance and operations fund. An additional $225,000 is allocated from the department’s Recreational Enhancement and Protection (REAP) funds.

Lee County Engineer Ben Hull presented the county’s largest department budget for Secondary Roads at $8.74 million for 2020-21. Hull’s re-estimated expenses for 2019 came in $200,000 under the approved budget.

On Friday, supervisors will take budget submissions from the Veteran’s Affairs, General Relief/Community Housing Initiative, Lee County Board of Health, Dept. of Human Services, County Recorder, Maintenance, and the Auditor.

Overall in 2019, the county is projected to finish with an ending balance of $11.6 million, down about $444,000 from 2018’s ending balance of $12.1 million. That reflects projected spending through June 2020 of $26,814,000 compared to revenues for the same period of $26,369,000.

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