Commissioners begin work on Cole County budget

Over the next five months, Cole County commissioners will be creating the budget for 2014.

On Thursday, commissioners heard from heads of departments under the direct supervision of the commission.

Priorities for the county ambulance service include getting two ambulances at a cost of $290,000, along with five new IV infusion pumps at a cost of $20,000. The service also wants to spend $71,000 to purchase software for the Missouri Ambulance Reporting System, which is used to submit billing data.

More than $4.7 million in road and bridge sales tax projects are being proposed for 2014. The projects include:

• $2.65 million to do curb and gutter work along Business 50 in the Apache Flats area.

• There’s $1 million for resurfacing work to be done throughout the county and $140,000 for road work in the smaller incorporated communities in the county.

• Nearly $500,000 is to be allocated for safety improvements and equipment replacement.

Commissioners also looked at a list put together by the maintenance department on what repairs need to be done at county buildings, in particular the courthouse, annex and Carnegie Building, where the public defender and county assessor offices are located.

At the annex, the highest priority would be upgrading the HVAC system controls at a cost of $45,000.

The replacement of the boiler and pumps, along with sealing the building exterior, are the top priorities for the Carnegie building and would cost $155,000.

At the courthouse, $10,000 would be needed for replacement of sidewalks and handrails, $30,000 to upgrade windows with rubber sealing around metal and glass, and $7,500 be needed to replace exterior lighting.

Sealing or replacing the driveway at the county health department on Industrial Drive would cost $21,000.

The building that needs the most attention is the Prenger Family Center on Stadium Boulevard where replacement of fan coils, HVAC controls, along with the boiler and generator system, totals $207,000.

For now, commissioners have said salaries will remain flat and any discussion on pay raises won’t occur until after they go through the budgets of all departments. Commissioners also said the cost of health care will play a major factor in their decision on pay raises.

Auditor Jim LePage will present his proposed budget to the commission this fall, and budget discussions from elected officials’ departments will follow.

In November and December, the commission will go through the budget and come up with a final budget that must be approved in January.

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