Law. Co. Commission unveils 2021 budget at hearing, deep in the black

Steve Chapman

Flanked by associate commissioners David Botts and Tim Selvey, Lawrence County Presiding Commissioner Bob Senninger addresses those gathered at last week’s county budget hearing at the Lawrence County Courthouse. (Photo by Ryan Squibb)

County commission sets aside nearly $500,000 for future jail, set for third year of county budget growth
The Lawrence County Commission and other county officials unveiled the county’s 2021 budget during a brief, 13-minute hearing at the Lawrence County Courthouse Thursday, Jan. 14.
County revenue
This year, according to information provided during the hearing, the county began the year with net cash available of $10,468,900, with revenue from property tax, sales tax and other sources of income totaling $13,136,461. The county’s available funds for 2021 is expected to total $23,605,362.
County expenses
Total expenditures for the upcoming year are expected to be $15,933,207, and the county’s available funds at the end of the year are expected to total $7,672,155.
County budget rises for third consecutive year
This is the third year in a row in which the county’s budget has seen an increase in its funds. In 2018, according to information from the Lawrence County Budget webpage (found under the Lawrence County Clerk’s webpage), the county’s 2018 budget began with a net cash available amount of $4,568,541, had total available funds of $16,508,315 and ended the year with cash available in the amount of $5,776,866.
In 2019, in addition to the cash available from 2018, the county saw total available funds of $17,481,397 and ended the year with cash available in the amount of $6,905,181. Finally, in 2020, in addition to the cash available from 2019, the county saw total available funds in the amount of $24,632,727 and ended the year with cash available in the amount of $10,468,900.
Commissioner boasts conservative spending from departments
Bob Senninger, presiding Lawrence County commissioner, said the county would continue to use its funds conservatively.
 “We’re going to proceed as we normally do (and) try to keep conservative in our spending and we’ve made a few adjustments to the budget from last year to this year,” he said during the hearing. “Hopefully, some positive ones that will help… and also provide necessary services for our citizens.”
Senninger also said the county had allocated some funds towards a new county jail, and hopes to increase that amount.
““As of right now we have about half a million dollars toward that,” he said. “Hopefully we can continue to put money back toward that.”
To date, the county has saved $479,377 for the future jail, per Lawrence County Treasurer Kathy Fairchild.
Eastern Commissioner Tim Selvey credited the county’s employees with the increased funds in the budget.
“I’d like to say that because of the great employees of Lawrence County, and their conservative attitudes about spending money, and their requests that they made for us for the budget of this coming year, we were just about able to meet every request,” he said. “They knew that they couldn’t request the world, so in their conservative minds they just asked for things that they need and we were able to grant those. And we were able to have a good budget for you today because of what they asked for and the tax money available and the conservative spending that we’ve done this last year.”
Health Department gets special praise
Selvey also had special praise for Janella Spencer, Lawrence County Health Department administrator, who was present.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention (Janella), and the challenge that she’s had this last past year (has been) unbelievable. On more than one occasion, there’s been tears shed because of this situation, so if you get an opportunity, thank her for what she’s done. And her work’s not done yet, not by a long shot, so encourage her so we can keep her employed. And I want to thank you Janella; you’ve done an outstanding job.”
Following the commendation was a round of applause from the audience of around 25 people.
The 2021 Lawrence County Budget will be available to be seen on the county’s budget page at


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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