What to know

BC revenues are expected to increase by $1.2 million, and expenditures by $5.9 million in 2018.

Jail revenues down

Inmate count, staffing and daily revenue are down at the jail.

At the meeting on Tuesday, January 20, Butler County Finance Director Ryan Adkison gave a 2018 budget overview for the county, explaining the status of the 2017 budget and how that weighs in for 2018 budget planning.

Overall major revenues are expected to increase from this year's $46.1 million to $47.3 million next year.

Taxes bring in most of the revenue for Butler County, making up $29.2 million – roughly 63 percent – in major revenues for 2017's budget. Other sources of the county's revenue are licenses, fees and permits, intergovernmental, charges for services and rental income. Taxes are set to increase for the 2018 budget.

"So, you can see our taxes are going from 29.2 to 30.2 [for 2018]. So, up a million. Most other things are mostly flat. I think that's the story there," Adkison said.

Major expenditures are calculated to increase from this year's $48 million to $53.9 million next year. The changes primarily relate to health care insurance, employee compensation and sales tax payoff.

Salaries and benefits make most of the major expenditures for Butler County, being $17.3 million – about 36 percent – of 2017's expenditures. Other expenditures are capital and transfers, contractual services and commodities and supplies. Salaries and benefits expenditures are projected to increase by $682,620 for 2018. Yet, capital and transfers expenditures are calculated to have the greatest increase of any category. It'll go up about $5 million, from $12.6 million to 17.6 million, in 2018.

In summary, the county's assessed value went up by 4.17 percent overall for 2018, driven by new construction and remodeling. The mill is decreasing by 0.009 mills, or 0.03 percent, for the eighth year in a row – starting in 2011. And the proposed 2018 budget does not exceed the property tax lid.

The next budget workshop will be Tuesday, June 27. Adkison and the board of commissioners plan to talk about the mill levy in upcoming workshops. The county commission will have a public hearing and adoption for Butler County's 2018 budget on Tuesday, July 25.

The board of commissioners also held a work session concerning revenue and inmate numbers at the county jail.

"It was 169 [inmates] yesterday [and] $5,120 [daily] revenue," Commissioner Jeff Masterson said.

Adkison explained that 2017 is the worst year to date so far for monthly revenue from jail fees over the past five years. He affirmed that the basic reason behind this year's low jail revenue has to do with the fact that the jail isn't housing enough revenue inmates.

"It hasn't changed much. They're still getting, you know, probably a thousand less than they need a day to break even .... I mean, if something doesn't change here in two months, we're going to be raiding the general fund reserve to fund the jail again," Adkison said.

Adkison added that he and County Administrator Will Johnson are working on a revenue incentive policy that the commission asked them to work on for the staff at the detention facility. That policy would maybe bend the curve of the downward trend a little bit.

The reason the revenue inmate count is low is because the Butler County Sheriff's Office cut down on the number of revenue inmates being housed at the jail near the start of the year since the facility was understaffed. The Detention Officer Retention Incentive Program became effective February 1 this year, terminating Dec. 31, 2018, in order to bring staffing up. Before the program initiated, the jail had been understaffed 16 people from May 2016 to January 2017. Now, it's understaffed by about six to eight people. The staffing number has been fluctuating up and down for awhile since the retention incentive program became active, but, obviously, staffing has gone up some. Johnson has said the staffing situation can change week to week. Retaining and increasing both staffing and inmate numbers is a crucial focus for the jail right now.

Also during the meeting, Assistant Director of Public Works Mike Craft met with the board of commissioners to award the bid for culvert letting number 72. Four bids were received, and the contract was awarded to Klaver Construction Company Inc. of Kingman for the construction of 10 reinforced concrete box structures throughout Butler County in the low-bid amount of $429,936.62.

Later, Craft requested approval from the board of commissioners to replace the engine on a BOMAG compactor used at the landfill.

"Our engine on our BOMAG went down the week before last. It just shelled out," Craft said.

He said Public Works Director Darryl Lutz looked online for an replacement engine and found one in Texas.

"That is a rebuilt engine, and [we would be] taking parts off our engine on the outside to make it fit to the BOMAG. This is, by far, the cheapest way to go, and I think we're going to end up with a pretty good deal on it from the sounds of things," Craft said.

The board moved to authorize the purchase the remanufactured Deutz replacement engine for the BOMAG compactor from Memo Parts of Southlake, Texas for a cost of $31,930 – including parts changeover, testing and a one-year, 2,000-hour parts and labor warranty. Delivery and installation were approved at an estimated upper limit cost of $4,400.

Additionally, the board of commissioners approved an agreement for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad crossing signals and gates to be installed at SW 50th St. in El Dorado.

"These are paid for 100 percent with federal funds administered through KDOT [Kansas Department of Transportation]. This is a standard three-party agreement that we've done several times in the past on these projects, and Darryl's recommending approval. The obligation for Butler County is to install and maintain the advance warning signs at each crossing. They will be maintained by El Dorado Township once we do that," Johnson said.

Craft brought sealed bids to be opened for public works motor graders during Tuesday's meeting as well. Three bids were received, and the board of commissioners moved to have staff review them and come back with a recommendation.

During the public comments part of the meeting, Andover resident Joe Ammann recommended that the county commission present an award to an Augusta woman who saw his dog get hit by a car and took it to the veterinarian. The car that hit Amman's dog just kept going. The board of commissioners directed Ammann to submit the necessary information for an award to County Clerk Don Engels.

A Butler County Emergency Medical Service Silver Plus Recognition Award was on the items of business section of the meeting agenda, but it was tabled for one week.