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Cherokee County Faces Tough Decision-Making On General Fund - KOAM TV 7

Cherokee County Faces Tough Decision-Making On General Fund

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COLUMBUS, KANSAS -

The Cherokee County treasurer says it appears there's going to be a tough time making ends meet in the county's general fund, if county commissioners don't act soon.

County Treasurer Juanita Hodgson says sales tax revenues are down about $152,000 from June of this year to June of last year.  Hodgson says she doesn't know the reason for this big decrease, but speculates two Wal-Mart stores that recently closed contributed to the situation.

She says there's 54% of the general county budget left, which ends the end of December.  But Hodgson says because of lower revenues, it looks like the county may have to borrow money from the state, or use paid-off county equipment as collateral to banks.

"Either option, you're negative is that...  We're not in debt, except for our jail, and the sales tax actually pays for that.  We're going to have to go in debt, and being a county that's not in debt, to go back into debt after we paid everything off within the last couple of years, that would be a hard thing for the commissioners to make that decision," says Treasurer Juanita Hodgson.

"It's called a lease purchase.  You contact a bank.  You're borrowing money against your equipment, like our cars or our graders, or our dump trucks, our equipment, because they are all paid for.  We are debt-free right now," says Hodgson.

Hodgson says county commissioners will probably have to make a decision by this August of how to borrow money.  She says after August, it looks like the county will struggle to pay bills out of its general fund.

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