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Woodford county to ask for less money

Woodford county to ask for less money

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EUREKA — Even while its budget grows, Woodford County will ask for less money from taxpayers.

The County Board last week approved a budget of $15.8 million, up from $14.7 million in 2006. However, the tax levy to support that budget was reduced 8.8 percent from $3.1 million in 2006 to $2.8 million.

The county’s tax levy accounts for about 5 percent of the typical resident’s real estate tax bill.

Administrator Greg Jackson said the increase in expenses will be offset by income from user fees instead of property tax revenue. For example, an additional $300,000 in income is expected to be generated by fees for a proposed wind farm near Benson.

A $400,000 increase in expenses in the county’s general fund comes mainly from increases in salaries and utility costs.

The county is projecting a 55 percent increase in gas and electric service costs. The higher costs for the courthouse and annex buildings will result in an increase of $236,000 in 2006 to $366,000 in 2007.

For salaries, members of the police union will receive 3 percent pay increases, while other employees will get an additional 55 cents per hour.

The budget includes a projected $305,000 deficit. However, that is only expected on paper, said Jackson. Revenue from user fees was estimated conservatively and should actually bring in more than the budget reflects.

Budget preparation this year was considerably different from previous attempts, said committee chairman Dave Griepentrog.

The county’s accountant, previously involved in the day-to-day development of the budget, only reviewed the final draft.

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