County budget basically the same as last year: $15.5 million

 

By KEVIN DONALDSON

CELINA-The total budget passed last month by the county commission for Clay County government and the school system is just over $15.5 million, basically the same as the previous year. 

 

As is always the case, the school system accounts for the lion’s share of the budget, coming in at about the same level as last year–just under $10 million. 

Officials estimate a penny on the property tax rate now generates a net revenue of just over $10,101 in Clay County. 

 

The county had been operating on a continuing budget and tax rate since the current fiscal year started July 1.

 

Budget at a glance

 

The budget totals roughly $15.5 million, with the school system accounting for almost two-thirds of that. The total general purpose school fund for the fiscal year is just over $9.1 million, while the general cafeteria fund totals just over $595,000, the appropriations resolution for the budget shows. 

 

The county general fund is slightly over $3.4 million, with the highway/public works fund the next highest at $1.74 million. The general fund total is slightly higher than last year, while the highway fund is slightly lower. Highway and bridge maintenance makes up the majority of the expenditures in that fund at just under $1.15 million. Solid waste and sanitation is the next largest budget item at just under $479,000. 

 

General fund

 

The county general fund is broken down into eight specific categories, with an additional “other” category. 

 

Those categories and major divisions are 

• general administration-various county offices not related to finance,

• finance-property assessor, trustee and county clerk, 

• administration of justice-courts and related items,

• public safety-sheriff’s department and jail and related programs,

• fire department-fire, emergency management, coroner,

• public health and welfare-health center and ambulance service,

• social, cultural and recreational-senior center, library,

• agriculture and natural resources-extension service and soil conservation, and 

• other-tourism, industrial development, employee benefits and miscellaneous items.

 

Courthouse and jail maintenance, public library, solid waste/sanitation, drug control, and general debt service are other items not included in the general fund.

 

School

 

Instruction is the biggest category in the school budget, accounting for about $4.3 million, with “regular instruction” being just under $3.4 million of the total. 

Various support services has 19 separate items, including instructional staff, plant operation, plant maintenance and debt service. The total budget for those categories is roughly $4.8 million. Plant operation, debt service, transportation and instructional staff account for over half the “support services” portion of the budget.  

 

The central cafeteria fund is not included in the general purpose school fund.

 

Tax rate breakdown

 

The $3.10 tax rate for the budget is broken down as follows:

• General fund – $1.57,

• Solid waste/sanitation – 38 cents,

• General purpose school – $1.12, and 

• Debt service – 3 cents.