County commissioners begin budget meetings

John Richmeier
County Administrator Mark Loughry, right, speaks with Commissioners Chad Schimke and Mike Stieben on Tuesday during a budget meeting.

Leavenworth County commissioners began a series of meetings Tuesday to review different portions of a proposed 2021 budget for the county government.

The proposed $61 million budget includes a decrease to the county’s overall mill levy.

The mill levy is used in determining property taxes.

County Administrator Mark Loughry said the budget reflects a cut to the levy of more than 0.25 mills.

He said commissioners can consider making an adjustment to the budget to allocate funding for security personnel at the Leavenworth County Courthouse.

Such an adjustment would somewhat reduce the amount of the mill levy reduction. But the budget would still cut the levy by 0.25 mills.

“We’ve discussed that for years,” Loughry said of courthouse security.

At the Justice Center, which is located across the street from the courthouse, visitors have to pass through a metal detector and bags and other items are put through an X-ray machine. The security desk is manned by members of the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office.

Loughry said, if approved, the courthouse would have similar security stations at two locations, a main entrance and an entrance that accommodates people with disabilities.

He said the necessary equipment would cost about $63,000. And the county government may be able to use funds it receives as a result of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to pay for the equipment.

He said it would cost the county an additional $190,000 to $250,000 per year for the needed personnel.

Commissioners were scheduled to spend most of the day on Tuesday meeting with representatives of various departments within the county government during their budget meetings.

Commissioners are scheduled to have their regular weekly meeting this morning. They will resume their budget meetings this afternoon.

Loughry said commissioners will have additional meetings next week with representatives of outside agencies that typically receive funding from the county government.

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