During the session, in which no action was taken as it was for informational purposes only, Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh outlined the figures regarding the maximum tax levy.
"Right now, there is a total of $3,842,485 in requests within the six levy funds -- General, Reassessment, Health, Aviation, Cumulative Bridge and Cumulative Capital Development," she said.
However, the maximum tax levy the county will be able to receive is $3,392,928, meaning $449,557 would need to be cut from the proposed budget to make it balanced.
"Technically, we are a little better off at this point this year than we were last year," Alumbaugh said. "But, there are other factors in the upcoming years that we have to plan ahead for as well."
One of these factors is the possibility of the County Adjusted Gross Income Tax (CAGIT) dropping.
"The county is anticipated to receive 8 percent less in CAGIT funding in 2011," she told the council. "This is the lowest reduction of any community. Some are expecting to receive 34 percent less next year, which is something that could happen to us going into 2012, depending on the state of the economy."
Another factor that may hurt the county in the next few years is the temporary lack of levy funds going into the Reassessment Fund.
"According to legislation, this will be the last year that Reassessment will receive tax levy until 2014, when the next round is supposed to start," Alumbaugh said. "This means what cushion is in the Reassessment Fund will have to cover everything in that fund until then."
Although the county had built up a fairly healthy Rainy Day Fund, council members consider it to be off limits for the 2011 budget.
"In my mind, the Rainy Day Fund is untouchable," Council President Mike McCullough said. "We have to use about $700,000 to fund this year's budget, and while there should still be another $700,000-$800,000 left at the end of the year, we have $400,000 of it earmarked for the (John) Lovett trial, which is still pending."
With budget issues coming into 2010, the council was only able to build in a $100,000 operating balance, but are hoping that after all the possible cuts, potentially opening up 2011 with an operating balance in the General Fund of $500,000.
One thing that could help make this happen is the Public Safety Local Option Income Tax -- which is part of the overall CAGIT -- that the county received $672,000 in funding this year.
"Our intent is to use the Public Safety LOIT as replacement funding to reduce some of the burden on the General Fund," McCullough said.
The 2011 County Budget Hearings begin at 1 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 7, in the Commissioners' Court at the Clay County Courthouse, and runs through Thursday, Sept. 9.
Due to the Labor Day Holiday, and the budget hearings, the council will meet for its regular monthly meeting at 5 p.m., Sept. 7, at the same location.