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Cape Girardeau County budget presented

The Cape Girardeau County Commissioners held a public hearing on Dec. 17 for a proposed 2019 county budget. The proposed appropriations total $24.8 million.

The 2019 general revenue budget, which covers most county offices, totals $12.5 million. That total is $411,000 less than last year’s appropriations, due to a reduction in requests.

According to the preliminary budget, the County would have an estimated income of just under $12 million for the general fund, $7.5 million of which will come from sales taxes. The County will also start the year with a $2.1 million balance.

The sales tax was estimated at a slight increase of 1.9 percent, but County Auditor Pete Frazier said he is concerned about getting sales tax funds released from the state in a timely manner. Frazier said the State has released funds inconsistently in the past, making it difficult to budget the County’s revenue.

Road and bridge spending is budgeted at $3.7 million. The County has a balance of under $2 million currently in the fund, with $3.1 million estimated income through Proposition 1 funds and other sources. Assessment expenditures are budgeted at $1.1 million, with an estimated $985,000 assessment income in 2019.

Residents on County Road 224 asked about the paving road scheduling and asked the Commissioners to consider spending more money on paving new roads.

The public hearing will stay open for comments until the county passes the budget in January.

In other action:

• Work continues to more forward at the new Cape Girardeau County Justice Center after a new parking lot was opened on Dec. 6, located off of High Street between the current jail and the American Legion.

A parking agreement between the county and the American Legion was approved, where each entity would be able to use each other’s parking lots. The county will be allowed to park in the American Legion’s upper parking lot on weekdays, and the American Legion will be able to use the county’s parking lot on nights and weekends.

A lower gravel parking lot for the county, primarily for employees of the sheriff’s department, will be added off Missouri Street. A change order of $32,800 was approved by the county commissioners for this lot, including adding the gravel, modifying storm drains and deleting a retaining wall and stairs.

The commissioners also approved adding temporary wood stairs with a railing and a gravel sidewalk for Sheriff office employees to gain access from the north parking lot to the garage entrance. The project, which will be ADA accessible, will cost $5,800.

• After Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed an executive order earlier this month to close state offices on Dec. 24, the county commissioners decided to also have county offices close for Christmas Eve.

County personal property and real estate taxes, which are due Dec. 31, will still be received through the drop box located at the county administrative building in Jackson or in the drop slot at the Cape Girardeau office on Bloomfield Road. Payments can also be made by visiting www.capecounty.us and going to the collector’s page.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past four years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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