Callaway County commissioners are busy preparing the 2019-20 budget.
The budget document should be completed and available for viewing by the end of next week, Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann said.
“We’re passing the budget Jan. 4 at 10 a.m.,” he said Monday. “In order for us to put a good budget together, we wanted to wait until we’d seen the whole year.”
Jungermann said this budget will be larger than those in years past, thanks to a number of cost increases and expenses.
“Everything’s getting more expensive, whether it’s rocks or office supplies,” he said. “Road and bridge is going up, because the materials we use are getting more expensive. Like metal culverts: metal is crazy right now, due to those tariffs.”
A number of computers used by the county will need to be replaced as Microsoft is discontinuing support of the operating system Windows 7.
“We’re deciding how much to put in on capital projects,” Jungermann said.
Insurance costs are going up for the county as well. He said many local governments in Missouri are facing an across-the-board increase in general liability insurance costs amounting to about 7 percent. Vehicle insurance costs — for sheriff’s department patrol cars, for example — are high as well.
“We’ve been trying to run a newer fleet,” Jungermann said. “You either use older cars and pay a lot of money in repair and maintenance or newer cars and pay for higher insurance.”
Currently, Jungermann said, the county’s expenses are growing faster than its revenue. The use tax has gone a long way toward offsetting that imbalance, he added.
“If we hadn’t passed that use tax, I don’t know what we’d do,” he said. “We’re using just about every dollar we bring in.”
Despite the tightening budget, the county has still been able to add $300,000 into reserves, he said.