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Commissioners approve preliminary 2022 Cape Girardeau County budget

Photo by Jay Forness

The Cape Girardeau County Commission approved a preliminary budget for 2022 during its Dec. 16 meeting. The budget includes $9.68 million of requested expenditures in the general revenue fund, which includes most county offices.

County Auditor Pete Frazier said the preliminary budget will be used at the beginning of next year until a final budget can be approved. The final budget, which will be presented on Jan. 10, will include the exact balances of county accounts at the end of 2021 instead of the estimates used for the preliminary budget.

The county is estimated to receive $8.2 million in sales tax, as well as $3.31 million from other general revenue sources. The county is also estimated to start the year with around $4.95 million in its general revenue fund.

In the preliminary budget, $5 million is expected to be transferred from the general revenue fund to the county’s capital improvement fund. This is estimated to leave $1.78 million unencumbered in the general revenue account at the end of 2022.

The county is budgeted to spend around $4.98 million on capital improvement projects in 2022, including $3.575 million on building projects and $226,000 on equipment. The county is currently in the early stages of planning to renovate the old county courthouse and county jail in Jackson, with hopes that construction will begin next year.

The sheriff’s budget includes $12.4 million in requested appropriations. The budget includes $5.96 million for the sheriff’s office, $4.94 million for the county jail and $1.5 million for the 911 dispatch center.

The sheriff’s fund is expected to receive $8.2 million in law enforcement sales tax funding, $1.85 million in Prop 1 sales tax funding and $2.16 million through other funding sources. The fund is also estimated to end the year with around $3.5 million.

Frazier said the estimated balance for the sheriff’s fund might change more than other funds when the final budget is completed. “This is our first full year of having the sheriff’s fund as a separate fund to operate, so we are still trying to feel it out to see exactly what our expenditures and revenues will be.”

The sheriff’s fund was created after voters approved a sales tax increase in June 2020. The half-cent law enforcement and safety sales tax went into effect October 2020.

The county’s road and bridge fund has approximately $5.5 million in budgeted expenditures for next year. The fund is estimated to have a balance of around $4 million at the end of the year, and is expected to receive $3.7 million in Prop 1 funding and around $2 million from other sources.

Commissioner Paul Koeper said the road and bridge final budget might be different from the preliminarily budget because the county recently finished a $1 million asphalt project. Koeper said he wasn’t sure if the payment would be finalized before the end of the year or if it would be included in the 2022 budget.

The county’s assessment in budgeted expenditures, with $1.07 million in estimated income and a $325,618 estimated balance at the end of this year.

In other action:

• The county approved a $299,895 project to replace and upgrade cameras throughout the county jail and sheriff’s department. The project through Stanley Security Solutions is expected to be completed early next year.

“Our Stanley Security system is what we use to control our doors and our camera system in the jail and the sheriff’s office,” Sheriff Ruth Ann Dickerson said. “The cameras that are currently in place have been there since the building was built over 20 years ago.”

Dickerson added that the new cameras will provide much clearer pictures and will address current dead spots. She said the other equipment in the Stanley Security system has already been upgraded to digital technology.

• The county approved its annual contract with Cape County Private Ambulance for $102,000. Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy said the price was the same as last year and no other changes were in the contract.

“It protects all the citizens in the county and guarantees service all across the county,” Tracy said. “I believe we’ve been doing this contract since 2004.”

• The county approved the replacement of 115 iPads to be used for poll pads during elections. The $34,558 purchase through KNOWiNK includes the new iPads, cables and ID trays for each of the poll pads.

“The iPads that we do have are older and are not going to get any additional updates if we don’t upgrade,” Kara Clark Summers said. The county did receive savings by trading in the current iPads.

The new iPad polling pads will be in place for the 2022 elections, including the general municipal election day on April 5.

• The county approved the emergency purchase of four used vehicles to be used by the sheriff’s department. The county purchased one 2017 Ford Utility Police Interceptor for $22,500 and three 2019 Dodge Chargers for $21,900 each. The Dodge Chargers were previously used by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

“We’ve been trying to expand our fleet because of additional officers, plus we have been warned that new vehicles will be hard to come by next year,” Dickerson said. “We have bought several vehicles through the highway patrol’s used vehicle program, and even they are going to be harder to find.”

Dickerson said the Ford vehicle will still have some warranty due to it being driven only 50,000 miles. The Dodge Chargers will be similar to the vehicles already used by the department and the highway patrol will leave in the light bar, control box and speaker.

• The county approved its contract with the Missouri State Public Defenders for $37,734. The county is required to provide office space for public defenders and shares the cost with six participating counties in the area.

The public defenders for Cape Girardeau County, Perry County, Bollinger County, Scott County, Mississippi County and Stoddard County are all housed at 2360 N. High St. in Jackson.

• The county has set a public meeting for Thursday, Dec. 30, to present a proposed storm water management plan. The new plan will be implemented in accordance with the county’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System permit issued by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The plan will affect urbanized areas of the county, as designated by the U.S. Census Bureau, and exclude all municipalities.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past five years. He can be reached at

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