With little discussion Tuesday morning, Phelps County Commissioners unanimously approved the 2013 county budget, which includes a little more than $15 million in expenditures this year.

The commission approved and signed the budget after a public hearing, in which only one individual, Matt Bellue, attended. Bellue made no comments during the hearing.

The 2013 budget includes a total of $15,072,961 in expenditures. That is up compared to a total of $15,007,091 in expenditures in the 2012 budget.

With a total starting balance of $7,021,401 at the start of 2013 and expected revenues totaling $14,861,635, the county’s estimated ending balance at the end of this year will be $6,810,075.

In 2012, total revenues to the county were $16,297,722.

According to County Clerk Carol Bennett’s budget message, original budget requests from the various county offices and entities in the county revenue fund exceeded available revenues by about $119,578 and requests in the road and bridge fund exceeded available revenue by approximately $66,605.

Approved expenditures for the county revenue fund for 2013 total $5,003,167 (compared to $4,757,622 in 2012) and expenditures for the road and bridge fund for 2013 total $2,909,843 (compared to $2,917,665).

The general revenue fund tax levy for 2013 is proposed to be $0.1515 per $100 assessed valuation, which if approved, would be a decrease from 2012 tax levy of $0.1526. For the road and bridge fund, the 2013 proposed levy is $0.0928, which also if approved, would be a decrease from the 2012 levy of $0.0935.

Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp said growth and development in the county keeps property taxes in check.

Expenditures approved for the law enforcement sales tax fund total $3,782,603 (compared to $3,667,040 in 2012) and total budgeted expenses for all other funds and agencies total $3,347,414 (compared to $3,664,764 in 2012).

Of these amounts in the 2013 budget, $1,056,939 represents amounts transferred between funds for various functions and not true revenue or expenditures.

Additionally, assessed valuation for 2012 was $552,162,753, which was an increase of $7,906,425 over 2011’s total. Total assessed valuation proposed for 2013 is expected to continue increasing and be $561,749,985.

The 2013 budget projects roughly $577,480 in revenues for 2013 for the assessment fund, up from about $564,564 in 2012. Approved expenditures total $570,952 for 2013 out of that fund (compared to expenditures of $532,883 in 2012).

The health department fund projects $966,764 in revenues for 2013 (compared to $1,031,960 received in 2012) and approved expenditures for the department total $942,549 for 2013 (compared to expenditures of $987,684 in 2012).

Sales tax revenue for 2013 indicated an increase over 2012 receipts, but with continuing revenue reductions from the state along with increasing operating costs, Bennett stated that it was necessary to hold expenditures basically the same as the 2012 level.

Due to continuing tough economic times, the 2013 budget for sales tax revenues reflects a 1 percent increase over what was received in 2012.

In her budget message, she expressed her appreciation to county officeholders and department heads for “their cooperation in preparing a lean, conservative budget, while continuing to provide excellent services to the residents of Phelps County.” Bennett also expressed her support to county residents who buy local and support their local government.