Without so much as a whimper from the public, the Douglas County Commission effectively spent $24,246,830 Wednesday night.
That's the total amount of expenditures outlined in the 1995 county budget, about $1.44 million more than the 1994 budget and the largest in county history.
Commission Chairman Louie McElhaney, who got no response when he invited comment from taxpayers, noted that public input into local government budgets has been virtually nonexistent.
``We didn't get any more comments than the city (of Lawrence) did, so we're running right on schedule, we're right on target,'' he said.
The county's mill levy will remain roughly unchanged in 1995, because property valuation is expected to rise about 8 percent, and the commission offset budget increases with cuts. The exact mill levy needed to fund the budget won't be determined until after the county's property valuation is certified next month.
Missing from the 1995 budget are expenditures for two capital improvement projects -- construction of a new pumping station in North Lawrence and renovation of the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. 11th. Those two projects contributed about 2 mills to the 1994 budget.
However, the 1995 budget includes $92,000 to be set aside toward the construction of a third ambulance station. The estimated cost is $200,000, but commissioners decided to save some money for the project in 1995 and perhaps provide the rest in 1996.
The county also will spend $287,000 on lighting and other energy-saving measures at the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center. The maintenance department estimates an annual future savings in energy costs of $43,000.
- Commission takes aim at curb cuts. Page 3B.