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JPs Start Crafting Budget

The Logan County Quorum Court held a budget committee meeting Tuesday at the Logan County Courthouse in Paris and in the process, started work on the 2014 county budget in earnest.

Logan County Judge Gus Young said last week that he anticipates the budget work to be completed by the end of the month and that the Justices of the Peace will take action on the 2014 budget more than likely on Monday, Jan. 6 at the Quorum Court’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Also last week, Logan County Treasurer Mickey Oates said she is projecting that county sales tax revenue for 2014 will be about the same as this year — about $900,000. That number should not be a surprise to JPs or county officials.

“I compared the past three years and sales tax revenue has been consistently the same,” Oates said.

Young also said that he doesn’t believe the revenue predicted for next year will allow county employees to get a raise in pay.

“Unfortunately, I don’t see the revenue being there,” Young said.

County employees last got a pay increase in 2009, however, employees have received one-time bonuses of $1,000 each in two of the three years since then, Young said.

Young also said last week that the county is moving to a new insurance carrier for 2014. Insurance will be provided by the Arkansas Municipal League, Young said, and the individual insurance premium will be a little less costly but the premium for dependent coverage will “go up considerably.”

The county pays 100 percent of an employee’s premium with the employee paying for dependant coverage. The individual monthly premium is dropping next year to $382.50 per employee, down from $395. Coverage for dependents is rising from $132 per month to $465.

This year, the county paid the insurance premiums for 97 employees which cost $459,780. Next year, the premium for the same number of employees will be $445,230.

Young said Logan County Sheriff Steve Smith has requested hiring an additional four jailers next year to correct a lack of adequate staffing citing in the county’s most recent jail inspection report.

“It has yet to be determined if the county can afford to pay those additional salaries,” Young said. “I’m guessing those additional employees will cost between $100,000 and $110,000, but that’s just a guess.”

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