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Sedgwick County CFO raises concerns about losing funding

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, at 9:07 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, at 10:50 p.m.

The third financial quarter was better than expected for Sedgwick County, but the uncertainty of state and federal government funding continues to be a concern, the county’s chief financial officer told commissioners Wednesday.

Chris Chronis warned commissioners that the state and federal governments could try to push the cost of programs to the local level, something that already is occurring.

“We think that the greatest threats that we face are all being provided to us by higher levels of government,” Chronis told commissioners Wednesday. “The federal government, dealing with its budget problem, has created all kinds of uncertainty that creates heartburn for us. The state government, wrestling with its budget problems, continues to do things that can cause problems for us and they continue to talk about things that will cause problems for us. “

Chronis expressed concern about the possibility of the state eliminating mortgage registration fees, which typically provide $5.5 million to $9 million annually to the county.

In addition, he said, “the local economy continues to be tenuous.”

Interest income on Sedgwick County’s investments was down almost 30 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, Chronis said.

Also down is money from mortgage registration fees, Chronis said. Revenue from such fees was down almost 13 percent in the third quarter compared with the third quarter last year.

Overall, however, income is up slightly, by about 1.2 percent, Chronis said.

Expenses were down about 0.4 percent, he said.

Year to date through September, the county logged 8,350 home sales compared with 7,057 for the same period last year. The county issued 575 new home permits through September compared with 478 for the same period last year. And it registered 15,712 mortgages, up from 14,561 in the same period last year.

However, those numbers pale in comparison to those of five years ago.

In 2008, the county had logged 12,569 home sales, issued 1,613 new home permits and registered 22,365 mortgages through September.

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SGCountyDeb.

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