Morgan County Budget Sees Increase in Soft Revenues, Capital Improvement Projects

By Benjamin Cox on August 30, 2022 at 2:32pm

The Morgan County Commissioners say more capital improvement projects are on the way in Fiscal Year 2023.

The commissioners unanimously passed the FY 2023 on Monday. Commissioner Chair Brad Zeller says that soft revenues are up in the county: “Soft revenues have increased from the state. The replacement tax was one of the larger ones, and it was a one year jump. We want to monitor that for a couple of years to make sure that it’s going to remain consistently at that level, which we hope it will. The State Legislature is drawing from that fund more and more and using our tax money to reimburse us to pay for the [mandated] increase in the Sheriff’s salary. We don’t know how big a hit across the state that will be into that fund for that line item. We did show a little increase in our property tax revenues for the new growth from the energy parks that we have in Morgan County.”

Zeller says that the county is also monitoring revenues from a contract they signed with 4 other counties in the region with Cresco Labs for a cannabis grow facility located in Lincoln.

Zeller says that in expenditures, salary adjustments were a part of budget and were expected. Between 12-14 county employees will be receiving above the scheduled 3% increase for county employees this year due to the state minimum wage. Zeller says the increase is to remain in compliance and to stay competitive in salary for various positions.

The county commissioners approved a $1 million transfer to the capital improvement fund to complement a little less than $4 million in federal funding from grants and American Rescue Plan Act monies for upcoming capital improvements to the Morgan County Jail and the Courthouse: “With our next capital improvement project, it will be a major renovation of the security, heating, and air conditioning at the jail. We have also started the window project for the courthouse. With that window project, we are going to try to do a little heating and air [additions] on the first floor. If we are going to do the windows and get them back into shape, we also want to get rid of the air conditioning units hanging out of the 3 or 4 offices on this floor. It would be a significant improvement to the energy efficiency of the courthouse.”

Zeller says the final work at the courthouse will be putting new wiring and lighting in the main courtroom.

The last notable expenditure in the budget is that starting this month, the county will be giving $12,000 to New Directions Warming & Cooling Center to get the shelter through December out of the present fiscal year. Starting in January with the FY23 budget, Zeller says that the county will be giving the shelter $1,000 towards its operations to stay open. The line item will be in the General Assistance line item.