County stays thrifty

The Thayer County Commissioners will stay on an even budget keel as the county’s  tax request at .14 cents will allow it to operate on roughly the same budget for the third year in a row. 

The county is asking for just enough to do business in comparison to Jefferson County’s .32-cent  request and Saline County’s .30. 

Clerk Marie Rauner reported none of the departments had major increases.

Accountant Brian Blobaum said valuation was down about four percent. 

“Overall, we haven’t raised taxes in the last three years,” he said. 

The road budget has stayed steady as well, and the county is at an advantage because it owns the gravel pit. 

At some point, the county will have to make a choice whether to raise taxes or use the fat off the inheritance fund to do the county’s business, but Blobaum said he didn’t know how many years that was in the future, however, the time  is drawing closer. 

Helping to pad the inheritance fund will be the 2015 flood reimbursement from emergency management agencies. 

The county has been in its second appeal with Federal Emergency Management Agency for months, but road superintendent Roger Hofts recently furnished the agency with resolutions explaining the county’s bridge repairs paid for by the inheritance fund. 

Rauner briefly explained how the inheritance fund benefits the county. 

“Every budget can withdraw from the inheritance fund to balance, but we’ve never used it and I can’t see that happening for several years if they keep the levy this low,” she said. She said in the case of the 2015 flooding, the fund was instrumental in bridge repairs. 

“A lot of people don’t see what it does on the county side,” Rauner said.

“The inheritance is growing more than we are taking out,” commissioner Dave Bruning said at the commissioners’ Aug. 14 meeting. 

Blobaum said the county has a record of “conservative spending.”

In other business, the commissioners updated the county’s road plan to repair the washboard on Road 6100/1st Street leading up to the Spring Creek bridge and the road into Bruning from Highway 4 to the city limits. 

The county let bids for the two projects at the same time. The update was needed because of excessive moisture.