We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of warmer weather. The budget is in place, the plans are made, and the equipment is ready to roll. This will be a busy year in Lincoln County!
A few items of interest that the Commission has been working on are below.
• If you follow the Commission meeting minutes, you are aware that we receive a monthly report of sales tax revenues. Last year the State of Missouri implemented a new software system for the disbursement of sales, and as is the case with most changeovers, there has been a bug or two to work out. In December 2017, collections were up an extraordinary 25.2%, compared to the same month the prior year, which was followed by a dismal -39.78% in January. Over the last 5 years, the annual totals have ranged from a -0.98% to +9.43% with an average change of +5.93%, so I am confident that this volatility is related to the timing of deposits during the software changeover and not indicative of an unsettled local economy. In conversations with local business people, I’m hearing that the local economy is thriving and, as always, I encourage everyone to spend their dollars locally whenever possible.
• For the most part, the feedback has been extremely positive on our ongoing plans to improve our road and bridge system. While the flooding of 2015 was an event I hope not to experience again, it turned out to be a good learning experience. Throughout the recovery process, we were able to develop a detailed process for accounting for our assets from the largest bridge to the smallest culvert pipe. Armed with this information, we have now begun to lay the framework for the methodical improvement of dangerous low water crossings and outdated box culverts that are too narrow to allow traffic to pass. All of our projects are funded with dollars that have been saved for this specific purpose, which are over and above the reserve balances we maintain to keep the County in a strong position financially. If at any time revenues fall short of expectations, we have the ability to put projects on hold to keep us in that strong position.
• In 2018, Lincoln County will be celebrating its 200th birthday. Keep an eye on the Journal, our website, etc. for updates on the festivities.
That’s all I have time for now. As always, call, e-mail or stop by the Courthouse if you have questions. Until next week…