The budget just got a bit tighter for the Clark County Fiscal Court.
Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham alerted the court to a loss of $68,876 during its regular meeting this week. The loss comes because of a change in the bond reimbursement for the county’s judicial center.
The county originally expected to receive $138,335 for the bond reimbursement for the purchase of the judicial center in 1989.
The Administrative Office of the Courts claims it paid off its share of the $2,535,000 of the capital construction cost in fiscal year 2012. Now the AOC is only on the hook for a percentage of the operational cost of the judicial center, which is $69,459.
The bond was altered in 1991 when the county built its jail, which further complicates the issue.
“I’m thinking therein lies the issue,” Branham said. “When those were combined under one payment I’m assuming — and I haven’t completed my investigation yet — at some point the retirement date on the bond with the AOC was stretched, when it shouldn’t have been, four years beyond its term because that’s the retirement time of the jail bond.”
This puts the squeeze on the court to try and find some places to tighten up the budget.
“The big thing is that we lost $68,000 out of our budget,”¿Branham said, “because we thought we could budget that reimbursement from the AOC until the year 2016.”
This comes after the Fiscal Court opted to not raise its real property tax last month for this fiscal year. The county was already looking to find around $22,000 because of the lower tax rate. That gives the county a nearly $90,000 hole to fill in the budget. Clark County Attorney Brian Thomas already returned $10,000 from his office’s operation fund to the county to ease the pain somewhat.
“We’re running on a tight budget,” Branham said. “We were before, but this is tighter. You’d think $100,000 in a $10 million budget wouldn’t affect it that much but it does.”
Branham said the court will wait until after the first quarter of fiscal year 2013 to look at the budget. That will give the commissioners a good look at the payroll tax collections, in particular the joint collection with Winchester’s city government.
“We won’t know as much about net profits, but we will know where we are with payroll tax,”¿Branham said. “The court still needs to decide what to do with our community funds. You can’t give money away what you don’t have.”
Potential budget cuts could come from the community funds or the county’s rainy day fund. When the Fiscal Court opted to keep the lower tax rate, Branham suggested lowering the salaries of the Fiscal Court members to recoup some of that money.
Contact Casey Castle at firstname.lastname@example.org.