The Franklin County Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 Wednesday in favor of accepting three 2012 budget amendments that would close recently uncovered budget authority gaps.

As required by Kansas statute, a public hearing was opened before the vote to allow county residents to voice their opinions on the amendments. No residents spoke, and the public hearing was closed after about 30 seconds. 

The topic previously was discussed at the board’s Nov. 28 meeting, and because of that discussion, Commissioner Ed Taylor said there was no reason not to approve the amendments. Taylor then made a motion in favor of the amendments, which was followed by yes votes from commissioners Colt Waymire, Don Stottlemire and David Hood. Commissioner Steve Harris was not at the meeting.  

Three budget authority gaps were revealed after a year-end review of the 2012 budgetk, which led to the necessary amendments. A cash shortage in the bond and interest budget led to a transfer of $50,000 from the general fund capitol outlay fund to that fund to cover the expenses — bringing the bond and interest fund from $1.1 million to $1.11 million. In addition, the expenditures were $7,203.24 more than what was originally listed in the budget, warranting an expenditure increase, Lisa Johnson, county administrator and counselor, said. 

The second amendment, dealing with the county health department’s budget, involved amending the department’s budget for increases in both expenditures and revenue. It will amend the proposed expenditures from $846,813 to $891,000, and the revenues from $846,813 to $911,642. 

Because of staffing shortages, a need to contract health services to meet clinical needs and the increased demand and cost for vaccines over the past year, the health department might exceed the adopted budget authority in the 2012 operating budget, Johnson said. The department has generated additional revenue to cover the expenditures, Johnson said, but the budget authority was not in place to cover the expenditures.

The final amendment is to the county-wide phone fund, which is generated from user fees for the county office phone users. The fees are used for operating costs, maintenance and future capital reserve for the system, Johnson said. The board approved the replacement of the phone system this year with those reserves, but the replacement cost was not budgeted for the 2012 expenditures for the fund.

“We inadvertently failed to include the budget authority to spend the cash,” Johnson said. “So what this amendment would do is actually provide the budget authority, so that we don’t have a budget law violation for having spent that money for the projected cost.”

The passed budget amendment will not raise or lower taxes for residents, Johnson said previously, but were needed to avoid a violation of the budget authority of each of these funds. 

“None of these changes taxes,” she said. “We can’t change the amount of taxes levied. It just changes budget authority, so that we don’t have cash basis violations because we can not spend more than we budgeted in the expenditures. It will bring the budget authority up to cover the expenditures for the year.”

The amended 2012 expenditures for the three amendments will increase the county’s budget authority from $2,020,240 to $2.276 million. The amendments to the budget must be finalized before Dec. 31, according to state statute.