Payne County Budget Board approved a preliminary budget Tuesday for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
County officials are expecting a small revenue increase next year. County Assessor James Cowan said the total value of property in the county has increased approximately $6 million. That means a modest gain in ad valorem taxes for the county’s general fund, which is projected to be more than $5.8 million.
Combined with $3.9 million in revenue from miscellaneous fees and approximately $3.2 million in money carried over from previous years, the county’s general fund is projected to have roughly $13 million. County Clerk Linda Hatfield said it is down from the total in the 2011-12 amended budget, a result of a smaller carryover.
For the most part, next year’s budget will be largely the same as this year’s. It includes a $644,000 contingency fund.
The Payne County Health Department has a working balance of nearly $3.3 million. That money comes from ad valorem taxes, and is separate from the county budget. The health department expects to spend a little more than $1.2 million and carry the rest to the next budget year.
While the county general fund pays for county operations, Payne County also receives special revenues that are restricted to specific purposes. These funds come from fees as well as state and local funding. It include money for child abuse prevention, sheriff training, and emergency management. In all, those special revenue accounts total more than $25 million.
One of those special revenue accounts is highway cash, which include state taxes that pays for the majority of the work done by the county’s two road districts. Facing materials cost that outpace funding, the Budget Board chose last year to pay for the fringe benefits for road crew employees out of the county’s general fund instead of highway cash. Next year’s budget will do the same.
Budget Board officials approved the projected budget but opted not to grant any raises or new positions until this fall when the county will consider its amended budget. The latter budget is revised to reflect the actual revenue the county will receive.
Court Clerk Lisa Lambert said the county will usually wait to spend more on personnel until the amended budget is approved and the county better knows what its finances will look like.