Craighead County justices hear about budget see-saw, 911 system costs

by Michael Wilkey (mwilkey@talkbusiness.net) 58 views 

Craighead County Treasurer Terry McNatt said Monday (June 13) that the county’s economic numbers are doing good. The county is up more than $500,000 to $8.1 million in sales tax collections compared to the time in 2015, McNatt told the county’s Finance Committee.

The county’s one-cent sales tax brought in $1.6 million in May, up 9.6% from the same time in 2015. However, McNatt said county officials may have to look at realistic budget projections in the future, especially when it comes to expenses.

Through the first five months of the year, the county has received 31% of its revenues and 41% of its expenses for its $16.1 million general budget. By contrast, McNatt said Monday that the county has received 37% of its revenues and 33% of its expenses for the $7.1 million road department budget.

There was also some discussion over fees collected from calls to the county’s 911 system. The fees from a 65-cent fee per call are sent to the Electronic Phone System program in Little Rock, officials said. Jonesboro 911 director Jeff Presley said the funding, collected by the state, allows local 911 systems to apply for grants to update systems. The EPS fees bring in about $400,000 a year in Craighead County, Presley said, noting the amount includes grants that the county system receives.

The 911 budget this year is $1.2 million, said Presley, who is also running for Craighead County Judge as a Republican against incumbent Democrat Ed Hill.

Justice Ken Stacks said the collections should be more equal, to cover costs. Stacks said the county is “$90,000 in the hole” so far this year on the 911 system, noting most areas of county government are not money winners over a given year.

“The coroner’s office, it is dead weight,” Stacks said.

McNatt said the county has received $367,000 from a state one-cent sales tax dedicated to four-lane highway construction so far this year.

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