COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Boone County has identified its biggest priorities in its proposed 2024 budget.
The budget lists five priority areas that helped shape the budget:
- Improve workforce retention and reduce workforce turnover and vacancy.
- Address priority staffing and space needs.
- Provide new and replacement equipment, vehicles, technology, and capital infrastructure; including the County’s transportation network.
- Provide public safety improvements in training and retention.
- Maintain fiscal stability and transparency within the County’s major operating funds.
Staffing has been a point of emphasis across the county for several years.
“Definitely have had a lot of turnover issues that really started showing its face in 2020. I took office this past year and it was definitely a priority for the last fiscal year,” Boone County Auditor Kyle Rieman told ABC 17 News. “We have definitely made progress and we are continuing a lot of those efforts.”
Another point of emphasis was public safety, an issue that goes hand in hand with staff retention.
“The group of people that most folks don’t even think about until they have an emergency are the 9-1-1 telecommunicators,” Northern District Commissioner Janet Thompson said.
Some of the ways the proposed budget is trying to address staffing is with a 10% increase in employee salaries, $4 million budgeted for retention bonuses, and $1 million to buy land for what the county is calling a space study.
“The county is kind of landlocked downtown and as we have grown over the past 20 years since they completed the building of the government center downtown,” Rieman said. “We have filled it up and we will definitely be running out of space within the next decade so we are trying to be proactive and see what our needs are county-wide.”
Boone County is also setting aside $5 million in the general fund for a new law enforcement training center.
“It’s not in the operating budget because it is a capital project but we have set aside currently five million dollars of the general fund. We were working with the state of Missouri and have funding from them to help bring this project to the county.”
The total budget is expected to be $128,889,823.
The training center would be used for training sheriff's deputies and law enforcement officers around Mid-Missouri.
According to Northern District Commissioner Janet Thompson, Boone County Sheriff Dwayne Carey was a big proponent of the training center.
“Our sheriff has always been proactive about training. He understands the need to have his folks trained so they make good decisions, so that they stay safe, and the people with whom they interact stay safe,” Thompson said.
Rieman said the county hopes to break ground on that training facility sometime next year. The budget, itself, could be approved as early as next week.