The Riley County Commission on Monday heard recommendations on how to use $4.8 million in excess cash balances. Commissioners also heard a recommendation on employee cost-of-living-adjustments.

Tami Robison, county budget and finance officer, presented the commission with information on the county’s cash balances, specifically on five funds for which the cash balance on January 1 was higher than what had been budgeted: general, Riley County Police Department, capital improvement, economic development and health department.

Robison said funding in the accounts varied greatly due to a few factors for each account. The general fund had higher revenue — in part due to higher interest income, sales tax revenues, mortgage and recording fees and special highway revenue — and $1.4 million lower-than-expected expenditures on wages and benefits. The county had expected to start the year with $3.3 million in that fund but actually started with $6.7 million for a total of $3.4 million in excess funds.

Robison recommended the commission use $250,000 of the additional funds to increase the county’s cash reserves to $2.5 million in the 2020 general fund budget. Separately, $1 million would be transferred to the capital improvement fund in 2019 for inactive projects or for other large, future projects.

In the Riley County Police Department’s budgeted cash balances, the department had an extra $568,000 after they were budgeted at $194,000 but came in at $762,000. The department will use $400,000 of that on radios, and Robison recommended that the county keep the other $168,000 in the department for use on shooting range costs and any unexpected inmate medical and facility repair costs.

The capital improvement fund’s cash reserves were slightly higher than budgeted, coming in at $7.7 million and $430,000 higher than the budgeted $7.3 million. Robison recommended the county keep the extra funds in the reserves for future project requests or to earmark for specific, large project costs.

Cash reserves in the economic development fund were $47,000 higher than the estimated $30,000 at the start of the year, which Robison recommended be set aside for requests from other entities or unanticipated economic development requests.

Lastly, the Riley County Health Department had an excess of $372,000 over its budgeted $889,000. Health insurance costs were $219,000 lower than expected, in addition to $130,000 in lower computer software costs. The health department asked the county to carry over those funds into the department’s next budget.

Cindy Volanti, human resource manager for the county, also presented on proposed cost-of-living-adjustments for the 2020 budget. Volanti said she used the Consumer Price Index as a guide in creating her report on what a 1.9%, $434,000 cost-of-living adjustment could look like in the 2020 budget.

The board took no action on the reports Monday but will take the reports into consideration as it continues its budget process in the coming weeks.

Education reporter for the Manhattan Mercury. Follow me on Twitter at @byRafaelGarcia.