Proposed Jackson County budget cuts spending for sixth straight year

Next year’s proposed spending cuts in Jackson County government aren’t as drastic as in years past, but for the sixth straight year, County Executive Mike Sanders has proposed a budget that is smaller than the one approved the year before.

The budget that Sanders delivered to the County Legislature on Monday would set county spending at $308.7 million in fiscal 2012. That is almost $15 million less than $323 million adopted for fiscal 2011.

That is half as much as Sanders cut the previous year. However, last year’s cuts reflected construction winding down on renovations at the Truman Sports Complex, and so does this year’s budget.

Sanders also proposed raising county employees' pay 3 percent on average and spending more on parks while spending less on homeless assistance and roads, among other areas.

Slow but steady growth in sales tax revenue is one bright spot, Sanders said. He said that allowed him to propose maintaining in 2012 the slight reduction in the 2011 property tax mill levy that the legislature approved in September.

Sanders said that the county’s portion of property owners’ overall tax bills has not gone up since he took office in 2007.

Hearings on the budget are set for Nov. 29 and 30.