A few items of interest that the Commission has been working on are below.• Assessed valuations are in and this year the overall number for the county is $857,485,260 which represents positive growth of 3.6% from last year. While some of this growth is due to re-assessment (which means property is gaining in value which is positive), the change due to new construction accounts for over half, 51.4%, of the overall growth. Furthermore the growth attributable to new construction has increased by 27% over 2017’s numbers.
• As we have discussed in previous columns, the State of Missouri continues to lag behind in its reimbursements to counties for the housing of State prisoners. It is important to keep in mind that the board rate for reimbursement stands at $22.58 per day, per inmate which represents about ½ of what it costs Sheriff Cottle to house these prisoners. As of October 31, 2017, Lincoln County was owed $97,236.44 for prisoner boarding, and while the State has since taken steps to improve the payment of these bills, the balance due to the County has risen to $259,979.94 as of June 30, 2018. In private industry, we would turn such a “customer” over to collections and stop doing business with them. Unfortunately, in government we do not have that luxury and will continue to make the ends meet. With Sheriff Cottle and his staff, we have the right people in place to keep the operation financially stable.
• While December seems like it is a long time away, we have begun preparing for the 2019 budget. If current conditions continue through the end of the year, we plan to retire most if not all of the little short-term debt we are carrying and designate the remaining surplus to the appropriate reserve. In addition to the systematic savings plan we recently implemented with the Sheriff, the Commission will soon be expanding this philosophy to further build up reserves in General Revenue with a focus on long-term building maintenance and economic development projects. The overarching theory is to use times of strong revenues to make thorough preparations for that “rainy day” when income slows down.
That’s all we have time for now. As always, call, e-mail or stop by the Courthouse if you have questions. Until next week…