Following budget hearings held with department heads and partner agencies last week, the Harvey County Commission continued that discussion during its regular meeting on Monday as it heard a 2020 budget request from the Harvey County Extension Council.
Initially, the idea of supplemental grant funding was addressed by extension agent Ryan Flaming, who stressed just how supplemental that is to the department's budget. In a handout presented to commissioners, it was noted that the extension offices could receive anywhere from $15,000 to $90,000 in grant funding over the next few years, with the latter estimate being on the high side. However, just how much is received and what that can be spent on is dependent on a multitude of factors.
That is part of the reason the extension council came before the county with a request to increase funding by about 5 percent, to a total of $358,303, for Fiscal Year 2020. When questioned about where the additional expenditures came from to necessitate the increase, Flaming and Extension Council Chair Martha Gartner pointed to rising insurance costs, as well as increasing equipment and travel expenses for agents.
Given that estimated assessed valuation numbers were just presented to the county commission on Monday, the Extension Council's request put the governing body in a bit of a bind. Without knowing the full impact of the assessed valuation on the total mill levy, which the commission has tried to keep flat in recent years, it is unclear how much additional funding — over the potentially increased revenue — the county would have to commit to meet the council's request at this time.
Based on state regulations, as the council is part of Kansas State Research and Extension, there is a certain time frame in which the Extension Council must present its budget — although it was noted the agency does have some leeway.
Knowing the timeline of the budget process and how long it takes to get the proper numbers factored in, the commission suggested using that and allowing more time before the council presents its budget request next year.
Currently, the commission has already received a number of requests in excess of its projected revenue for FY 2020. Taking that into account, the commission denied the budget request of the Extension Council at this time but also recommended looking into a potential amendment to its funding request in the form of a 2 percent increase (or a total of $347,083).
In other business, the county commission:
• Approved a letter to be sent to legislators in support of the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks.
• Learned the county has received preliminary estimates on assessed valuation for the next fiscal year, with administration planning to work that into the budget this week.
• Was informed of the Harvey County Economic Development Council's upcoming annual meeting on June 18, with RSVPs requested and all three commissioners planning to attend.
• Heard about job openings at the jail from Sheriff Chad Gay, while the detention center has remained near capacity over the past two weeks with 135-136 inmates on average.
• Accepted the termination of the F Lease and approved the W lease (with addendum) and multi-hangar lease for Avcon at the Newton City-County Airport.
• Agreed to proceed with consent to annex the portion of the Newton City-County Airport known as the Mennonite Press area to the city.
• Established Tuesday as the new day for county commission meetings, effective July 9, through the approval of Resolution 2019-12.
• Held a public hearing for the five-year regional Solid Waste plan. Hearing no comments, the commission approved the plan.
• Approved Resolution 2019-13, establishing annual Solid Waste fees for the year, which will remain at the same rates as the previous year.