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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Budgets chopped

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Across the board revenues from the county and state have decreased by about $150,000, a figure lower than the Anticipated Revenue, set up by the Quorum Court in November 2008, said Fulton County Judge Charles Willett.

About $137,000 must be cut from the 19 departments that comprise County General in order to ensure the county stays on task, according to Fulton County data from the Treasurer's Office.

Anyone that receives funds from the county will be required to cut their balances, set by Anticipated Revenue, by 20 percent for the remainder of the fiscal year to reduce spending down to levels that retain county maximum spending limits set by the state. By law, all counties in Arkansas must maintain a 10 percent savings in their County General fund. Fulton County is above its spending limits due to a lack of carry over and reduced revenues for the county, Willett said.

"Our carry over has been big enough that it has been covering what we have been spending," Willett said. "Now it has caught up." Funds left in County General in 2007 and 2008 have allowed for higher levels of spending in the county. "Now we've got to adjust our budget right now to make sure that we don't go over 90 percent of our spending," Willett said.

Some of the departments funded through County General have had large budget increases, 2007-2009, he said.

The largest chunk of funding cut will be taken out of the Fulton County Sheriff's Office budget. At about $680,000 for the 2009 year, the Sheriff's Office will be required to reduce spending to about $189,000 for the remainder of the year. About $47,000 less can be spent in the Sheriff's Office (September through December), than was allocated to the department at the beginning of the year, according to county data.

This pattern continues through County General, with each department cutting back from spending earlier in the year to make up for overestimate of Anticipated Revenue in 2009.

Forty percent of the sales tax is allocated to County General, paying for the salaries, grounds and maintenance of county buildings, including the Fulton County Sheriff's Office, Clerk's Office, Judge's Office and the Treasurer's Office. Sixty percent of the one-cent sales tax is allocated to the Fulton County Road Department, said Donna Hall, Fulton County Treasurer.

A percentage of property taxes, fines issued by circuit and district court, and state funding called "turnbacks," also contributes to the annual revenue for the county, she said.

"All and above is varied," Hall said. "The budget went up last year because of raises."

The quorum court sets the county's Anticipated Revenue in November of each year for the following fiscal year. The Anticipated Revenue for 2009 was set at $1,886,000, Hall said. Monthly expenditures for August was above actual revenue by $60,000, according to Hall's budget report at the Sept. 7 court meeting.

Oct. 12, the quorum court will meet to examine the 2010 Anticipated Revenue for the county.

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