Political party organizations organize budget event | Local

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Understanding how money is managed by local governments was the theme of an event jointly hosted on Wednesday night by Boone County Democrats and Boone County Republicans.

The event, the second non-partisan collaboration this year by the Muleskinners and Pachyderms, was called “Magic of Managing Money at the Local Government Level”.

Guest speakers were Boone County Auditor June Pitchford and Columbia CFO Matthew Lue. The questions were moderated by David Lile of KFRU.

At the entrance to the event sat Bill Stack, chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee. He asked everyone who entered to take two packages.

About 30 people attended the in-person meeting and eight on Zoom. Stack said the room appeared to be half-aligned with political parties, with a few people not represented by either group.

“Not the best turnout – only 30 people,” Stack said. “It’s so important, and we don’t talk about it enough.”

Stack has been writing to newspapers for over 60 years, but still learned new things about local budgets at Wednesday’s meeting.

Crowd interest was piqued at various points in the 90-minute discussion.

Much of the conversation took place after Lue noted that the city has its own utilities, “including the railroad.” It’s pretty much something that’s unheard of.

Noting that the railway is not active, Lue mentioned that a transshipment facility that is part of the railway is used by others to store goods, which generates income.

Pitchford explained many misconceptions people have about the county budget. She pointed out that the budget is not easy.

“I know the citizens and the media really want a good single number,” Pitchford said. “But it’s more complicated than that.”

Pitchford went on to explain the legal framework that divides the county budget into 30 to 40 separate funds, each with its own legal budget.

The county’s budget limits are tighter than the city’s, she said. About 80% of the county’s operating income is legally restricted for specific purposes, Pitchford said.

Lue said only a third of the city’s income is limited in this way.


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