Greene County Commission Approves, Signs Budget

The 2019 Greene County budget was approved and signed today during a special meeting of the Greene County Commission at the historic courthouse.

The hearing was the 18th public hearing concerning the Greene County budget, higher than the usual amount of public hearings to finalize the county’s budget.

The county anticipates just over $176.7 million dollars with expenditures of $191.5 million dollars. The difference is due to a cash transfer of bond funds from 2018 for highway measures that would offset the difference. With the transfer of bond funds, the county should run an approximate $7 million surplus for the year.

Some of the new items in this year’s budget include additional staff for the juvenile courts, the creation of the fugitive apprehension unit of the Sheriff’s office, additional staff in Elections division to prepare for the 2020 Presidential election year.

The Commission placed $150,000 aside to cover the potential costs of the audit of Greene County by state auditor Nicole Galloway.

Commissioners Harold Bengsch and Bob Dixon

The Commission voted unanimously to approve the budget to the applause of county staff in attendance at the hearing.

Councilman John Russell was questionable to attend the vote as Russell was in Jefferson City for a hearing before the State Senate Committee on Gubernatorial Appointments. (Under a change in Missouri law, Russell will have to be given approval by the Senate to finish the rest of now State Senator Lincoln Hough’s term. The vote on Russell’s nomination in front of the full State Senate is expected January 31.)

Here is the budget by department:

Here is the budget by elected official:

“There were many difficult decisions to be made in this budget process and it being my first time became keenly aware of the impact of every budget decision,” Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon said.

“There were a number of items that could not be funded this year which will make things challenging next year,” Dixon continued, “and being an election year it will be even more challenging.”

Commissioner Harold Bengsch praised staff for presenting a budget that would allow the county’s bond ratings to remain and put the county in position to improve them in the future. He also praised staff for their work on the budget.

“Without sitting through those 16 public meetings, you cannot truly appreciate the effort on the part of our county employees,” Bengsch said. “You have to be there to see the give and take and hard work of our employees.”

Bengsch said that residents need to know there were no “wish lists” in this year’s budget.

“This was not a ‘wish list’, this was a ‘need list’,” Bengsch said.

Bengsch said that he hopes county residents realize the commission and staff have done all they can to maximize every tax dollar received by the county.

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