The Beacon News

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October 9, 2008

County budget looking at red for 2009

The mortgage industry across the nation isn’t the only entity facing financial woes. Mercer County Commissioners felt the woes as they reviewed the budget Oct. 1 and then approved the budget for 2009, a budget that will stand an estimated $500,000 in the red as proposed.

The vote of approval was not unanimous, as it has been in many of the past years. After much discussion and a change in the County Landfill budget, Commissioner Wayne Entze moved to accept the budget. No second was forthcoming from Commissioner Frank Bitterman when Commission Chairman Lyle Latimer called for one.

"We want to say to the public we passed a budget that’s $500,000 over? We want to raise taxes?" Bitterman asked. "Well Lyle, if you’re going to want any help you’re going to have to vacate the chair."

"I will vacate the chair," Latimer replied before seconding the motion.

Entze and Latimer voted to approve the proposed budget while Bitterman voted no. Estimated expenditures for 2009 are $3,969,528 compared to 2008 estimated expenditures of $3,976,965 and actual expenditures in 2007 of $3,873,244. County Auditor Monte Erhardt said estimated revenues have decreased (a detailed story on estimated revenues and expenditures will follow later in October).

"We estimate revenues low and expenditures high," Erhardt said reminding the commission that the figures are an estimate.

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