roger christensen

Roger Christensen

Bonneville County commissioners voted Thursday morning to set the proposed maximum budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

The total expenses included in the budget for the upcoming year are $90.2 million, up slightly from last year’s maximum of $88.3 million. Part of the increased budget comes from pay increases for county workers, including a 6 percent increase in pay for law enforcement to keep up with the cost of living.

“We’re finding that we need to push the pay scale up to stay competitive while staying within the limitations of the budget,” Commissioner Roger Christensen said.

County Clerk Penny Manning said the justice fund levy will remain at its maximum value this year but the property tax levy is predicted to decrease by more than 3 percent. The final numbers won’t be known until the state establishes final levy rates in September.

One of the largest changes in the proposed budget is a drop in sheriff’s department grants, which are used to offset revenue for one-time program payments or temporary contracts. Four deputies that were paid through the grants last year have been hired full-time, dropping the expenditure from $4.65 million to $1.2 million.

The completion of Lincoln Road improvements is expected to drop the budget for roads and bridges this year, as the county had budgeted $7.5 million for the project over the previous two years. Christensen said the county was hoping the begin the second phase of construction with roundabouts at Lincoln and 45th Street and at 1st Street and 45th.

The commissioners will make the final decision on the county budget Aug. 29.

Contact Brennen with news tips at 208-542-6711.

Kauffman reports on health care and city events for the Post Register.