Attorney seeks hefty budget hikes at meeting



June 18, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Allen County commissioners continued to hear budget requests for 2015, with one noteworthy request for a much higher spending plan.

Allen County Attorney Wade Bowie requested a 17 percent hike for his budget, up to $313,100, for the upcoming fiscal year.

Bowie told commissioners much of the increase would go to his support staff. He has an assistant county attorney, two full-time office workers and a part-time employee.

The hope is to pay a more competitive wage to his employees, Bowie said.

The increase would be a $49,000 hike from 2014. Commissioner Dick Works noted, “that’s about half a mill.”

Commissioners were noncommital to Bowie’s request, but promised they would consider it as they look at the county’s overall budget.

OTHERS WITH budget requests for 2015 were:

— Bob Chase, representing the Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center, who requested $117,000, a 3 percent increase from 2014. Chase cited higher administrative costs related to the recent change of Medicaid to KanCare. The mental health center provides service to Allen and surrounding counties. Chase noted the center also provides alcohol treatment services, but those are funded through other means.

— John Green, representing the Southeast Kansas Area Agency on Aging, requested $2,000, which is used as funding matches in pursuit of state and federal grants. Commissioners noted the $2,000 investment brought in about $192,000 this year.

“This is an easy one” to consider, Commissioner Tom Williams said.

COUNTY TREASURER Crickett Maley told commissioners the county is opening a new bank account with Landmark Bank.

The city is closing its accounts held at Great Southern Bank because of new service charges and securities fees that were about to be enacted. The fees could have cost the county $3,000 a month or more, depending on the county’s account balances.

Landmark assesses no such securities fees, Maley said. Its service charges — which would have been about $195 based on a month’s cash balances on hand — would be offset by interest rate earnings, or about $366, and netting a slight profit for the county, Maley said.