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Proposed county budget shows $20.91M increase in spending
by Joe Baker
Sep 05, 2014 | 983 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KARNES COUNTY – There is no doubt that Karnes County’s annual budget has grown over the past five years of transformative change brought about as a result of the development of the Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas boom.

The county’s proposed budget, as it has done over the past several years, is taking yet another quantum leap in planned spending, otherwise referred to as “budgeted expenditures” in the annual budget.

Five minutes before the start of the Labor Day weekend, the proposed FY 2015 budget was filed in the county clerk’s office and posted online available for public viewing at tinyurl.com/q7z4mp4.

The Karnes Countywide is planning to interview county leaders for a more in depth look at this year’s proposed budget for the Sept. 10 issue, but for now, a few figures can be reported in the proposed budget.

Budgeted expenditures are increasing in a big way, from $30.16 million last year to $51.07 million in this year’s proposed budget.

This is about sixfold the amount of budgeted expenditures listed in the budget from three years ago, which at that time (FY 2012) were noted at $8.57 million.

Where will the additional money come from?

The big ticket items on the revenue side this year are ad valorem property taxes expected to total $9.32 million under the proposed higher 30-cent tax rate. This is an expected increase of $4.11 million above the $5.11 million in property tax revenue listed in last year’s budget. Also listed are $7.7 million in state grant funding, an estimated $7 million in sales tax and a long list of other revenue sources that include jail bond fees, district clerk fees, county clerk fees and revenue from many other sources.

Where will the additional money be spent?

The big ticket items on the spending side include:

$27.89 million in spending by the county’s road and bridge department, an increase of $22.38 million over last year’s spending. The majority of this spending – $25.31 million – is earmarked for road materials, freight, contractors and equipment.

$5.57 million is budgeted for the new county jail.

$1.16 million is included for an EMS facility.

$850,000 is budgeted for new software.

$840,000 is budgeted toward courthouse restoration.

$290,000 is budgeted for a record storage building.

$278,000 is budgeted for a new Information Technology department.

$225,000 is budgeted for an EMS facility.

There is far greater detail in the 55-page document made public last week.

See the Sept. 10 issue of The Karnes Countywide for a more detailed report and comments from county leaders about the thoughts and planning that have gone into the Fiscal Year 2015 proposed budget.
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