By RICK HAYES
MT. VERNON — —
Despite the lack of funding from the state — particularly state income tax receipts for the past four months — Jefferson County's financial situation is stable.
"Our daily balance in our working cash fund ($288,659) is good still, our monthly claims ($91,280) are not exorbitantly high. They seem to be right around the average," said County Treasurer Dan Knox.
"The state is behind on income tax and also the local use tax," he added. "Normally, the local use tax is always on time, but occasionally it does get where they're a little slower than paying. On the income tax, you can always figure you're going to be three months in arrears, but right now, we're four months in arrears," he added. The state owes the county $520,005 in income tax receipts. When the February payment is made, the county will receive over $170,000, which averages a little higher than remaining months, although Knox pointed out that the income tax is cyclical due to businesses paying their quarterly income taxes within state guidelines.
The state owes the county payments for November through February.
Jefferson County received local use tax receipts of $24,615 for January, but still owes $24,356 for February. Receipts from three other funds are current. The county received $97,384 for the one-quarter percent sales tax, $35,300 for the one-cent sales tax, and $88,340 from the Public Safety tax. The county is also awaiting a February payment for the personal property tax.
The county has received nearly $270,00 in receivables this month, but is owed $684,565, as of Tuesday.
Probation payments from the Second Judicial Circuit are current, according to Knox.
"The Second Circuit probation is doing a really good job in fronting us the payroll money, and they are also at the first of every month they are sending us a check for $50,000 to cover the backpay from the state of Illinois in salary reimbursements," Knox said. "Our receivables for the salary reimbursements continue to decrease until we reach zero because of the payment we will receive from Second Circuit probation."
Knox said Franklin County Treasurer John Gulley should be credited for making timely payments.
"He's great to work with in getting our money. He wires money to us on the same day that we ask for it, in most cases, and he's an integral part to making this work for all 11 counties," he said.
The County has a balance of $150,000 in its General Corporate Reserve Fund since $250,000 was used earlier.
County officials previously approved allowing $500,000 to be placed in the reserve fund to be used for payroll emergencies, although the fund has never been above $400,000. The $250,000 used out of the fund was to meet payroll in December — the county's first month of their fiscal year. Coincidentally, that is the same time that ICE prisoners were vacated from the Jefferson County Justice Center.
It's unlikely the fund will show any significant increase in the coming months, according to the treasurer.
"Until we have a resolution to the ICE prisoners and whether they are coming back and to what extent they are coming back, it will be hard to dictate or hard to plan to put any more money into the restricted fund. Even if we don't receive the ICE prisoners we will still be able to fund the General Corporate Restricted Fund because our expenses will be cut significantly as well," Knox said.