Engineer’s budget down 5.7 percent for fiscal year 2018
BY BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Henry County Engineer Jake Hotchkiss was the first county employee to present a fiscal 2018 budget when he made the engineering department’s proposal Tuesday to the county supervisors.
Hotchkiss’ total budget for fiscal 2018 is $6,084,700, a 5.7 percent decrease from this year’s $6,454,928 budget.
“The big difference in the budget is that there is no rock crushing operation in next year’s budget,” Hotchkiss surmised.
Road maintenance occupies the largest share of the budget at $1.82 million. The secondary-roads department is planning to resurface 25 percent of its gravel roads at a rate of 400 tons of rock per mile.
Local construction will account for another $1 million of the budget. One of the larger projects is the replacement of two abutments on the bridge over the Skunk River at Oakland Mills.
Hotchkiss said the section of Franklin Avenue adjacent to the bridge might be closed for a month. “I know it is going to be heartburn for the public, but it needs to be done,” he said.
Plans are also to create a “T” intersection at the Marsh Avenue and 310th Street intersection and replacing two culverts on Nebraska Avenue.
Anticipated construction also includes work on a railroad bridge on Franklin Avenue, but Hotchkiss said that could be pushed into the summer of 2018.
Some $800,000 is budgeted for new equipment, which includes a motor grader, tele-scoop, tandem axle truck, pickup truck and hydro-seeder. The tele-scoop is the most costly item at $330,000. “I would prefer to see equipment at $600,000 but don’t know how we can do it,” he commented.
Equipment operation is the final big-ticket item in the list of expenditures at nearly $997,000. Those expenditures include $584,000 for diesel fuel and gasohol and $337,000 mechanic labor, outside services and parts.
The county engineer has $206,000 in the budget for snow and ice control and $135,000 for bridges and culvert maintenance.
Funding sources for the budget include $3 million in road use tax; $1.2 million in property tax; $200,000 in local option sales tax receipts; and nearly $909,000 in farm-to-market funds, which basically is the state’s penny gas tax.
Total income for the fiscal 2018 budget is listed at $6,541,337 by Hotchkiss, which is down from $7.7 for the current fiscal year.
Hotchkiss is projecting a fiscal year-ending balance of $1.9 million in fiscal 2017, compared to $1,056,637 in fiscal 2018 and $679,059 in fiscal 2019.
Last week, secondary-roads workers were busy working on brush cutting and doing some tree clearing on Ash Avenue, he reported.
Supervisors will meet again in regular session Thursday at 9 a.m., in the courthouse.