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Crawford County Looks to Replenish Reserve Funds - KOAM TV 7

Crawford County Looks to Replenish Reserve Funds

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CRAWFORD COUNTY, KANSAS -

Crawford County's preliminary budget for the upcoming fiscal year features a new line item for reserve funds to make up for new property tax laws.
Crawford County Clerk, Don Pyle, says the strategy going into next year's budget is planning for the future.

"It's hard to predict what the needs are gonna be 6 months down the road, let alone a year and a half," Pyle said. 

County Commissioner Carl Wood says departments' budgets wont be cut, but spending will be held back to make room for a new budget line item to raise reserve funds. 

"We need to get some kind of reserve in case something happens that we can have some money to fall back on," Wood said. 

The new property tax increase should add $180,000 to the county's reserve, as well as raise funds for a drug treatment center. for homeowners, it would mean an $18 increase for every $100,000 in assessed valuation.

"So we have some funds that maybe we could use to get us through some lean times without having to borrow money or have to go through some other measure," Pyle said. 

Commissioner Wood says officials felt compelled to build reserve funds when Kansas passed legislation, written by local senator Jake LaTurner, which stops counties and municipalities from raising property tax above the rate of inflation without a public vote.

Despite feeling the need to build up reserve funds, county officials say they believe Crawford County is in a much better position than the rest of Kansas; because the property tax lid taking affect will coincide with the opening of the Kansas Crossing Casino Development, in Pittsburg. But until the casino is built county officials don't want to rely on casino revenue. Regardless if the property tax lid affects Crawford County, officials want to be prepared.

"It's something we've been talking about for two or three years," Pyle said, "We realized we needed to do it now and get that in place to help us down the road."

Pyle says the preliminary budget should be available for pick-up and on the county's website by Tuesday night. There will be a public hearing on the budget during the county commissioner's meeting on August 23rd, at 10 AM.

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