County Clerk reduces expenses to save money

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COLUMBIA - Taylor Burks took over as Boone County Clerk seven weeks ago and has since released his 2018 budget request.

He said he is reducing expenses and saving tax payers from a tax increase by making voluntary budget cuts to non-election activities.

He will cut the activities budget by thousands of dollars.

"So in submitting my budget for 2018, I looked at non-election services. I went line by line through that, and after doing that, I determined that we would be able to cut about 8 percent of non election services. So it comes up to about $70,000 for next year," Burks said.

The money will be cut from traveling, supplying and equipment expenses.

Since this isn't a presidential election year, but instead a midterm election year, the clerk's office predicts it won't have the same number of people turn out. Because of this, the office will not open as many polling locations and will save money.

Burks plans to consolidate in 2018 to save some election judge costs, rental costs and equipment costs, so they can use some of that money in 2020 when they will need it.

The county commission will determine how the money is spent.

"So we're going to save $70,000 this year and $70,000 next year as well. All of that goes back to the county commission, and the county commission can determine at the end of the year what to do with leftover funds and it gives them more flexibility next year to decide how they could better allocate that $70,000," Burks said.

The county clerk, records management and election and registration departments are where the the 8 percent savings came from. The county will still pay the election activities. Election services, the federal HAVA election fund, election reform payments grant, voting access for disabled grant and election equipment replacement are all funded by grants or election funding.

Comparing this budget to the budget from two years ago, the total request for 2018 will save more than $500,000 from 2016 fiscal year expenses.

In running next year's general election, the target savings is $112,000, compared to the 2016 election numbers.

Burks said although he doesn't control where the funds go, he has some ideas.

"My suggestion, things like law enforcement, development in infrastructure, we're going to have large equipment expenses in 2019 that we'll need to deal with, so my goal, my whole purpose was, 'What can we cut now so that we are planning efficiently for the future?'" Burks said.