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Examiner
  • County legislators OK 2013 budget

  • Jackson County legislators on Monday approved a 2013 budget that does not raise taxes but does include some belt-tightening at county offices and a pool for county employee raises of 2 percent.

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  • Jackson County legislators on Monday approved a 2013 budget that does not raise taxes but does include some belt-tightening at county offices and a pool for county employee raises of 2 percent.
    “This year was reasomably difficult,” said County Executive Mike Sanders, whose office prepared the $300.27 million budget approved Monday. That’s down from $309.41 million in 2012, but many of those cuts – including three dozen positions in the assessor’s and prosecutor’s offices – have already been made thanks to mid-year cuts from the state of Missouri. Also, the McCune Home for Boys in eastern Independence is closing, saving money for the court system, and cutting about 40 jobs.
    Sanders had a couple of points for legislators: Look for further state and federal cuts in 2013 and beyond. And second, although the county’s own budget process went fairly smoothly and elected and appointed officials worked well together, it’s really the county’s employees who deserve a good deal of credit.
    “They’re the ones who do it every day,” he said.
    In passing the budget at their last scheduled meeting of the year, legislators also adopted funding for outside agencies.
    Last week they had listened to presentations from dozens of groups, seeking a total of $4.39 million, though the county had just $2.5 million budgeted to give them.
    Legislature Chairman Dan Tarwater, D-Kansas City, said legislators try to put the money where it will do the most good – a free clinic, for example, saves on hospital costs that often come back to the taxpayer – but also try to give to groups across the county. The county follows up closely and see that the money is spent properly and effectively, he said.
    Among the applicants:
    • Swope Health Services, which has facilities across the county, including two in Independence. It got $321,109, the same as this year. It had asked for $322,843.
    • The NorthWest Communities Development Corp., which runs a senior center with meals, exercises and other activities in the Fairmount area of Independence. It had asked for $91,360 but got $56,498, the same as in 2012.
    • Harvesters, which supplies food banks across the metro area. It asked for $80,000, up from $60,000 but got $60,000.
    • Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, with it main facility on Hospital Hill in Kansas City, its new clinic in Independence and facilities elsewhere across the metro area, got $430,000, the same as in 2012. It had asked for $900,000.
     
     
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