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County expenditures cut again

WARRENSBURG -- Friday afternoon, Warren County budget officer Kevin Geraghty had his office door shut, and a paper tape from his adding machine extended from his desk to the floor.

Without question, Geraghty was busy crunching numbers in preparation for some landmark decisions this week.

Final cuts to the controversial 2010 county budget will likely occur Wednesday morning, as county supervisors convene at the municipal center to make decisions under a looming state deadline.

When the supervisors started their budget cutting in Spring, the increase in amount to be raised by taxes for 2010 over 2009 was about $13 million, and it increased over the next few months -- with cutbacks in state reimbursements and revenue shortfalls both in sales tax receipts and from the county trash plant operation, most shortfalls due to the floundering economy.

In the last two days, Geraghty and other county officials have trimmed just more than $2 million of an anticipated $6 million shortfall.

The latest reductions, taken late last week, include savings of $300,000 in how the county Social Services Dept. administers the federal food stamp program, $140,000 in health insurance savings, using a one-time Medicaid reimbursement stipend of $1.5 million and cutting an additional $115,550 from equipment, supplies, fuel and miscellaneous costs throughout the county departments.

As of Friday afternoon, the budget shortfall stood at $3,946,000, which would represent a 10.9 percent increase in county taxes for 2010.

Recent budget cuts included a vote by county supervisors last Tuesday not to fill two jail guard positions, which may prompt the state to de-certify the county jail from accepting boarders from other counties according to Sheriff Bud York. Such a move could cost Warren County hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue -- including a planned $210,000 increase for 2010 in boarding receipts, he has warned.

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