By Jon A. Brake
Taking money from the Riley County Road and Bridge Fund is a mindset and Riley County officials have had it for many years.
The Riley County Commission has started a campaign to get voters to approve a 1/2 Sales Tax this fall. For years the Commission has set the Budget, which included money to fix and repair county road and bridges. The Budget has been published, which is telling the Citizens of Riley County that they will be taxed and that tax money will pay for these items.
After the Budget is published and approved the Commission has a right to spend that money anyway they choose. That has been the problem; they have taken money from the Road & Bridge Fund to pay for other things.
This is what their own Road and Bridge Advisory Committee said: "The RBAC recommends that the Board of County Commissioners not use the Road and Bridge operating budget to balance the county operating budget. The RBAC also recommends that the Board of County Commissioners refrain from making large cuts in the Road and Bridge operating budget as a means of keeping the entire count operating budget under the statutory tax lid."
Last week the Budget Committee made a report to the Commission on the options they have if the State of Kansas cuts $2 million from the Riley County Revenue Sharing money. The Committee is made up of the County Treasurer, Clerk, Counselor and the Director of Public Works.
The Budget Committee said: "The Budget Committee discussed the possibility of receiving up to $2,000,000 less in revenue from the State during their next fiscal year. The committee felt the Commissioners could address the shortfalls by reviewing and adjusting if necessary the following four areas in Riley County’s Budget.
1. Use a portion of the 2001-carryover funds.
2. Reduce the Road and Bridge and the Capital Budget.
3. Reduce Personnel Cost.
4. Increase Revenue by increased valuation, increased mil ley and or sales tax.
According to the Riley County Commission the roads and bridges are in such bad repair that we need a 1/2-cent Sale Tax to make the repairs. Yet, each year the Commissioners take money from the fund for other things and when the Budget Committee reports the first item to cut is the Road and Bridge Budget.
The Citizens of Riley County have already paid to have the roads and
bridges fixed. The Commission has just refused to spend the money correctly.