The Platte County Commissioners unanimously voted
to approve the countys 2004 operating budget,
the 10th balanced budget for the county in as
The $17 million dollar budget, as approved, includes
a $1.9 million carryover from the previous budget
and a near $500,000 increase in county salaries.
The overall budget is about 18 percent higher
than last year's reported 2003 budget of $13.9
"Platte County's revenue engine continues
to run smoothly, said Commissioner Michael
Short. "We don't have the problems that many
neighboring counties have, we realize that, and
we're very grateful for that."
County Auditor Sandra Thomas said she was glad
the budgeting process was over for another year
and thanked her staff for the hard work, saying
that "officeholders and department heads
in this county continue to work together to provide
services in a cost effective manner.
The largest source of anticipated revenues for
the county continues to be sales tax, accounting
for nearly 39 percent of revenues for the county's
As reported in previous issues of The Landmark,
the county is betting on increased sales tax revenues
from new developments such as the Parkville Commons,
Zona Rosa and others. The county commission elected
to ignore the county auditor's sales tax projections
from 7 percent to 14 percent, setting off a mild
firestorm within the county's Republican party.
Members of the Republican Central Committee,
of which Thomas' husband James is a member, passed
a resolution which criticized the commission's
projections as not "reflecting reality."
The county commission has said that if the county's
revenues do not meet projections, they would actively
curtail spending, assuring the committee that
the county would not incur a deficit.
The largest increase by percentage in the budget
will occur in interest income. The county anticipates
the increase for 2004 because investments made
by the county were shown to have obtained a greater
return in 2002 than was finally realized. According
to the auditor's office, the method of realizing
interest on investments was changed so that interest
is not realized in advance of final payments.
The largest dollar value increase came under
the line item of "other government costs."
The auditor's office said the increase is due
to the debt service payment for the Platte County
Resource Center. The second largest increase came
under the administration of justice category,
although the county will have a modest decrease
in the law enforcement budget. The auditor's office
said the decrease is primarily due to a shift
of fund allocations for the 2004 budget.
The county's debt is projected to rise in 2004
with the new $29 million bond issue for community
center construction. The county continues to manintain
a AAA rating from both Standard & Poors and
Moody's, reflecting a very solid financial condition.
The budget took effect on Jan. 1 with the general
fund showing a balance of $1.92 million, the aforementioned
"Platte County will continue to work to
provide taxpayers the high level of service they
have known in the past while controlling the cost
of government," Thomas said. "With cooperation
and hard work this goal will be acheived in 2004
and the future.