Commissioners wade into annual budget

Monday, July 27, 2020

McCOOK, Neb. -- Red Willow County commissioners agreed to continue support for a local domestic abuse agency and heard from the frustrated former owner of a mobile home before wading into details of the 2020-21 county budget.

Trent Jollensten of McCook said he had been paying distress warrants on a mobile home he no longer owned, but was unable to obtain a title to the trailer.

Told the county could find no title on the structure, he wondered how the county could still levy taxes on it without knowing he was the owner.

County officials promised to contact Hitchcock County, where the trailer was formerly located, to try to clear up the confusion.

Commissioners agreed to continue $10,096 in annual support to Domestic Abuse/Sexual Assault Services for fiscal 2020-21. Chairman Earl McNutt said the agency received 831 calls last year, and served 202 families with emergency help like food, shelter and cash.

After a fund-raising effort for a memorial to donor Tom Kiplinger failed to reach its goal, the commissioners voted to close out a related account, sending $2,720 to the fair board and returning $696 to the visitors bureau. The county offered to return the money to the donors, but money returned to the fair board was from those who declined.

Initial requests for salaries, equipment and other expenses for county departments included Clerk, $219,956; Treasurer, $282,940; Assessor, $263,674; Election Commissioner, $40,950; Clerk of District Court, $120,627.04; County Court System, $24,000; District Judge, $9,790; Building and Grounds, $145,031; Sheriff $558,573; Cooperative Extension Agent, $138,079; Attorney, $190,465; County Jail, $870,515; Probation Office, $16,095; Juvenile Detention, $12,000; Emergency Manager, $58,935; Veteran's Service Office, $84,088.87; Child Support Agreement, $78,484.28; Register of Deeds, $5,000; Debt Service Capital Outlay, $143,980; Diversion Program, $35,903.22; Red Willow County Fair, $677,256; County Health Department, $315,909.50.

Commissioners hope to get more details from Dan Miller, CPA, who is contracted to help draw up the annual budget, before hearing from heads of county departments. Officials were told to plan for 2.5% salary increases for employees. McNutt also said receipts from the state highway allocation fund will surprisingly be up, some $1.239 million, but the county's experienced more expenses than usual related to its health self-insurance fund this year.

Budgets are due Sept. 20, so a budget hearing will likely be Sept. 14.

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