Revenues that support Douglas County government are down this year, and adjustments will have to be made to the 2009 budget, County Administrator Craig Weinaug said Monday.
“Revenues do not look good for 2009. I’m preparing recommendations to not fund part of the budget,” Weinaug told county commissioners.
That probably means not filling employee vacancies and asking departments to spend less than they are already budgeted for, he said.
Revenue is down because of declining property valuations, sales and mortgage taxes.
“We’re not talking about any service cuts,” Weinaug said. “The reserves (fund) in the county are strong enough that I’m not talking about anything drastic.”
Assessed property valuations for businesses and houses are expected to decline between 2 percent and 5 percent, Weinaug said. Total valuation for new buildings are down 50 percent, which means there is still construction going on but considerably less of it, he said. Personal property taxes are dropping because of the state’s move a few years ago to remove the tax on machinery and equipment.
And because consumers are spending less, sales tax revenue now is expected to be down. The county had projected it to increase up to 1 percent.
At the same time, fuel costs have decreased from July levels when the 2009 budget was initially planned.
“We’ll have savings in that area,” Weinaug said.
Despite declining revenue, commissioners on Monday agreed to proceed with a 1 percent raise for county employees that was already in the budget.
Information provided by Assistant County Administrator Pam Madl showed that the national consumer price index increased by 3.7 percent in October 2008 compared with the same month in 2007. In the Kansas City metropolitan area, it increased 4 percent from the first half of 2007 to the first half of 2008. Regional information for the second half of 2008 is not yet available.