Employees top priority of county
There are winners, losers and a whole lot of “staying the course” on the expense side of Tunica County’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget.
With FY 2011 revenues (excluding the Schulz pipe plant project) projected to be much the same as last year, county administration has made cuts in several places and increased budgets in others.
The budget for every county department shows increases in wages and salaries, reflecting a projected three percent raise for county employees.
Personnel costs as a whole include wages and salaries, matching funds for state retirement, Social Security and group health insurance, and varying amounts for reimbursing meals and travel. Personal services budgets from each department total more than 38 percent of the total county budget, or over $18 million of the $48 million budgeted, again excluding the Schulz project.
By our calculations, personnel costs average over $60,000 per employee for the 320 county employees.
For FY 2011, these departments project an increase in expenses:
• Parks and Recreation - up about $150,000;
• County clinics at Robinsonville and Tunica - up $150,000;
• All courts, from Circuit Court to the Lunacy Court, up about $43,000 total;
• Election expenses, from $72,495 to $81,495;
• Salaries for investigators in the Sheriff’s Office - up from $488,280 to $592,609;
• Appropriations for libraries and animal control.
Down from last year’s budget are:
• Maintenance of buildings and grounds, from $971,802 to $923,905;
• Debt service, down approximately $115,000;
• Administration and management in the county administrator’s department;
• Total appropriations for Tunica National and Battle Arena;
• Expenditures in the watershed project;
• Appropriations to the District Attorney.
The county road department, which carried over about $4 million from FY 2010, shows increases in personnel costs, service agreements, insurance and fidelity bonds, and a big jump in the total amount budgeted for road construction, from $2.1 million to $3.86 million, and for heavy equipment, from $300,000 to $488,000.
The total budget for road maintenance increases from about $5.5 million to $7.47 million.
The total budget for the Sheriff’s Department increases from $6.45 million to $6.5 million, while the total amount budgeted for operations at the jail are projected to decrease slightly, from $1,767,422 to $1,758,865.