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Greene County Commission sets $121M budget

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The Greene County Commission approved a $121.3 million budget Jan. 25, following three months of budget hearings.

The budget comprises $33.9 million in general revenue and $24.3 million in road and bridge funds, according to a county news release.

It also includes $19.7 million for the ongoing construction of the Public Safety Center near Campbell Avenue and Nichols Street, which aims to allow Springfield and Greene County to respond to an expected New Madrid earthquake, according to Springfield Business Journal archives. The Public Safety Center shows a 23 percent increase in expenditures from the 2010 budget, but its construction is funded through bonds, grants and other external revenue sources rather than general revenue, the release said.

The remainder of the budget comprises funds the county collects to distribute to other jurisdictions, such as the 911 Sales Tax, the Springfield-Greene County Parks Sales Tax and the Law Enforcement Sales Tax.

Five new positions have been created along with the finalization of the budget - three sheriff's deputies, a juvenile probation supervisor and a security officer for the Greene County Juvenile Office. It also eliminates 24 vacant positions held open due to the county's hiring freeze.

“We have a lot to be proud of in this budget,” Presiding Commissioner Jim Viebrock said in the release. “We managed to reinforce our commitment to public safety and our support for juvenile services. We held our general revenue spending flat."

Viebrock initially was hoping to push forward a $97 million budget, according to SBJ archives.

The budget for Greene County roads and bridges will fund projects including:
  • $3.8 million for Weaver Road improvements;
  • $2.73 million in bridge construction and replacement;
  • $753,000 for West Republic Road design and right-of-way acquisition; and
  • $435,000 for Farm Road 190/East-West arterial design and right-of-way acquisition.
Harold Bengsch, associate commissioner, said he respects the tenacity of department heads and officeholders in the county for doing what they can with meager budget offerings.

"This is the third year in a row that they have scraped the bottom of the barrel," Bengsch said in the release. “This scraping sound is beginning to show signs of wear and tear on both county services and employees.”

According to Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Greene County public information officer, budget appropriations during the last three years were:
  • $98.6 million in 2010;
  • $108.6 million in 2009; and
  • $129 million in 2008.
The 150-page 2011 budget can be downloaded from Greene County's Web site.
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