By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
During tough economic times in history, like many government entities, Seward County has had to do some trimming to its budget, but the numbers indicate the color of black, rather than red concerning the county’s finances.
County administrator Mary Bloomer said all of the departments that required cash transfers were able to meet them.
“The one that I was concerned about due to a decrease in revenue and sales tax was the general fund that required a cash carryover of $328,829 to begin the next budget year,” she said.
After all year end transfers, there was a cash carry over of more than $900,000. Bloomer said while 13th month expenditures from the general fund will still come from that amount, the county has met its goal to start the new budget year.
Bloomer said department heads were instructed to scrutinize all purchases and were directed to only make purchases that were absolutely necessary for the operations of their offices.
“Expenditures were monitored regularly, and the department heads took an active role to ensure we met our year end goal,” she said. “While they had plenty of budget authority, they had to under spend their budgets due to the shortfall on anticipated revenue and sales tax in order for us to have required cash carryover to start the new budget year.”
While the economy is still sluggish and projected revenue and sales tax may be lower than projected, Bloomer said the county will still tow the line as far as expenditures.
“All expenditures will be scrutinized by the department heads as to necessity for the operations of their offices while still providing customer service to the community,” she said. “I do not anticipate a lift of the hiring freeze at this time.”
Bloomer said all unused funds for departments in the general fund roll over to the general fund for this year and are utilized toward departmental budgets for those sectors in the general fund.
As for the next fiscal year, Bloomer said she expects to see similar results for the budget.
“While myself and the board are constantly looking at the economy to prepare for next year’s budget, I anticipate the budget process will be more intense for department heads, and expenditures will continue to be scrutinized as to true needs of the departments and the services they provide to the community,” Bloomer said.