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County anticipates decrease in revenue

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January figures should clarify budget situation

By Stephen Lega

The Marion County Fiscal Court's budget could be $30,000-40,000 below its projected revenue by the end of the 2008-09 fiscal year, according to Marion County Judge-Executive John G. Mattingly.

Mattingly reported on the status of the budget during the Dec. 18 fiscal court meeting. He said the economic development office has estimated there will be approximately 330 fewer people working in Marion County next month than there were in January of 2007.

Mattingly reminded the court that it did not increase the projected occupational tax revenue in this year's budget.

According to the 2008-09 budget, the county projected it would receive approximately $2.3 million from its occupational tax. The total revenue for the general fund is projected to be more than $5.95 million.

Magistrate John Arthur Elder III said he thought the budget was about $25,000-30,000 short already. He added that the county may be looking at having $80,000-100,000 less revenue than it did last year.

"At the end of January, we should have a lot better idea," Marion County Treasurer Kevin Cochran said in a phone interview Monday.

Cochran added that that the next quarter is typically the county's biggest revenue quarter of the year.

In other fiscal court matters:

• A few county fire departments would like the county to adopt a false alarm ordinance similar to the in place in the City of Lebanon. Marion County Attorney Joe Mattingly pointed out that the City of Lebanon is in charge of its fire department, whereas the county contracts with independent volunteer departments to provide fire service in the county. Mattingly said he would look into the situation, but he did not know how the county's contracts with the volunteer departments would affect a county false alarm ordinance.

• Judge Mattingly reported that the county received more than $16,000 from its recent auction of surplus property. The money will be added to the county's general fund.

• The magistrates unanimously approved advertising for bids for street lights at the intersection of the Marion County Veterans Memorial Highway (the Lebanon Bypass) and KY 429 (St. Rose Road). Judge Mattingly contacted Inter-County Energy, and they estimated it would cost around $26,400 for the materials and labor to install each street light.

• Judge Mattingly reported that the bid opening for the planned Marion County judicial center has been postponed until Jan. 6.

• The magistrates authorized Marion County EMS Director Robbie Turner to purchase a power stretcher and a stair chair at a total cost of $13,000. Turner reported that he had $10,256.41 in grant funds to be used toward the cost of the equipment. He added that he had money in his budget to cover the remaining balance.