The final budget hearing will be on December 12 when the 2018 budget is expected to be passed. Auditor Laughlin said there may be some adjustments to preliminary requests between now and then.

As final budget numbers are still being negotiated, Camden County Auditor Jimmy Laughlin held a public hearing on Wednesday attended by a representative of nearly, if not all, county departments.

Elected officials submitted preliminary budget requests to the auditor’s office in September and the Camden County Commission held several meetings with certain offices in October to discuss the requests. The final budget hearing held by the Commission will be on December *21, 2017 when the 2018 budget is expected to be passed.

Laughlin said there may be some adjustments to preliminary requests between now and then. According to Road and Bridge Administrator Lee Schuman, P.E., his department’s request was just recently increased by approximately $320,000 from a previous request submitted in November.

Where the money comes from

For the fiscal year of 2018, Camden County has budgeted $40,756,935.42 in expected revenue from seven funding sources. A total of 44-percent of that revenue is attributed to “other” which consists of Camden County’s five major funds — county revenue, road and bridge, assessment, Law Enforcement Sales Tax and E-911 for a total of $17,807,141.97.

Sales tax revenue has been budgeted at $10,020,000 and Laughlin said sales tax rates have effectively remained flat for the past decade. Property tax for 2018 was budgeted at $4,687,000 while intergovernmental revenue was set at $5,143,854 which accounts for federal and state funding sources.

Where the money goes

Camden County expects to spend a total of $45,861,299.19 with 36-percent of that total attributed to “other public entities” which includes passthrough funds for school, fire, ambulance and special road districts as well as municipalities and Camden County’s sheltered workshop.

The next three largest expenditures include L.E.S.T. - Sheriff, Corrections, E-911, Judicial System at $10,955,315 or 24-percent, Road and Bridge at $7,252,833 or 16-percent, and General Government at $9,763,018.68 or 21-percent. The remaining three-percent of funds are distributed to the debt service fund, emergency fund and a new capital improvements fund, which received $549,848.31, $360,000 and $600,000, respectively.

A majority of the general government funds are distributed to offices that fall under the purview of the Commission, including Planning and Zoning, Health Department, Waste Water, Emergency Management, and Building and Grounds.

Of note, a total of $375,143.00 was budgeted for Management Information Systems, which Laughin said accounts for all of the county’s technical equipment and not just those located within the courthouse.

The Commissioner’s Office appears to have the largest difference in budget requests from 2017 to 2018, requesting nearly $162,000 in additional funding to pay for new positions under the office, including a benefits and payroll coordinator, a part-time county prosecutor, and a purchasing secretary. Salaries were requested to be bumped from $256,082 in 2017 to $338,660 in 2018.

In total, the Commission requested $682,964 for 2018 but received a preliminary budget total of $612,388 with a majority of the approximately $70,000 difference coming from decreasing the requested $146,000 for attorney fees to $73,000.

*Correction: The date of the final budget hearing is on December 21, not December 12 as the original article stated. December 12 is the date the Missouri State Auditor's Office will meet with the Camden County government regarding the upcoming state audit.