Published On: Thu, Sep 19th, 2013

Commissioners listen to concerns, answer questions at Cedar Co. budget hearing

HARTINGTON — The 2013-14 county budget has increased about $4 million from last year.

For the 2012-13 year, the budget rang in at $9,969,680.34. But the Board okayed a $14,264,413 total for this year at their Sept. 10 meeting.

Though it seems like the county’s budget has swelled significantly from last year, a few important factors create this perception. The first one is a concept known as budget authority.

“We have to put it (the funds) in there (the budget) so we have the authority to spend the money,” said Cedar County Clerk Dave Dowling.

The $250,000 in the Bridge Federal Aid account is one expenditure based on the concept of budget authority.

“In that line we show $250,000 as an expenditure and I show $250,000 as income and that is just proposed,” Dowling said. “That may end up being nothing.”

Unlike the Bridge Federal Aid account, the Bridge account, which has $700,000 in it, is not simply potential money. The Board set up the account last year so money would be available to repair more bridges.

Another good example of an expenditure that is based on budget authority is the $10,000 set aside for the Diversion Program account.

Though the money has been budgeted, it does not mean it will be spent by the county, said District 3 Commissioner Dave McGregor.

The fact is solidified by the amount used last year, a mere $204.98.

The Board also discussed the Visitor Promotion and Visitor Improvement accounts. This money is generated by the three percent lodging taxes imposed on hotels and motels.

One and a half percent of the total goes toward making improvements for tourism and the other one and a half percent of the total is spent on promoting tourism. Often more is spent from the Promotion account than the Improvement account.

Pick up this week’s issue of the Coleridge Blade to read more!