Jefferson County Commissioners finalized the 2021-2022 fiscal year budget during their meeting on Aug. 30.
Chairman Scott Hancock stated he has received questions as to why the budget is so high. Hancock informed them the budget includes the ARPA funds and the updates coming to the Kettle Butte Dairy road. The county has also recently hired some new employees. According to Hancock, they have not had to fund things in the past such as a full-time Prosecutor’s Office and a Public Defender’s office. Hancock mentioned they are trying to be as efficient as they can be.
Clerk Colleen Poole started the budget discussion by stating there were some changes that needed to be made to some salaries, and Hancock asked what the issues were. Poole stated is was the Prosecutors office and Poole will talk to Taylor about the changes and adjustments that needed to be made. The legal assistant position needed to be increased by $2,000, which would take the salary to $49,210. Prosecuting Attorney Mark Taylor apologized for dropping this on the commissioners, considering it was the day of the hearing for the budget.
Taylor proposed to the commissioners that he would like to promote one of his legal assistant’s, who is currently an Assistant/Victim Witness Coordinator, to an investigator.
Each commissioner voiced their concerns with increasing the Prosecuting Office budget to accommodate this new position. Taylor mentioned this is not reinventing the wheel, this is something that would be done as a benefit to the county.
Commissioner Roger Clark asked if they had discussed this with Sheriff Steve Anderson, Taylor said no, his department had just started discussions in their office recently.
Chairman Hancock said he has a problem with this because detectives have years of experience and have worked their way up to become a detective, they did not just work for the city for a few years and then become a detective. Public Defender John Stosich confirmed this is true.
Commissioner Shayne Young stated he is not sure why this is being dropped on them last second. Taylor said they are making it sound controversial, but it’s not. Taylor mentioned it was the budget deadline that was the problem and why he brought it up now.
Commissioner Roger Clark stated they could leave this and revisit it next year. Hancock mentioned they could just leave it the way it is; Hancock believes this should be vetted with the sheriff’s office first. Taylor agreed, but the problem is the budget hearing is tonight. Commissioner Young reaffirmed this is something they need to digest.
The commissioners decided not to make a final decision and will go over it next year.
The commissioners then opened the budget to a public hearing.
Exhibit A was to adopt the following: Whereas, the General Department has expended the amount of $138,752.24 for the Annis Highway Project; and Whereas, the General Fund had the amount of $138,752.24 in cash; and Whereas, the Emergency Management Department has expended the amount of $567.39 over the allotted grant funds; and Whereas, the General Fund had the amount of $567.39 in cash; and Whereas, the Building & Grounds Department expended $10,046.00 in salary increases; and Whereas, the General Fund had the amount of $10,046.00 in cash; Be it therefore resolved that the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners hereby authorize the following be added to the 2020-2021 fiscal year budget with revenues to cover said costs as outlined above: General – Annis Highway Project $138,752.24. General – Emergency Management $567.39. General – Building & Grounds $10,046.00. Total additional expenses $149,365.63. Approved and adopted on Aug. 30, 2021.
Exhibit B is as follows: overview for non-tax revenue is $23,706,160. Taxes $8,022,041. Cash forward $4,943,007 for a total budget of $36,671,208. The published budget was $37,414,677 the actual budget is $36,671,208 for a difference of $743,469.
Exhibit C stated there was about $12 million that may or may not be used. The ARPA funds are $5.8 million and the Kettle Butte Road for $4 million. The funds for the Kettle Butte Road will come from the EDA, the Department of Commerce and the State Department of Commerce with a matching portion of $200,000 to $300,000. The project will not go forward unless they receive these funds. Increased the Sheriff’s budget to cover the additional inmates and an increase in deputies.
Hancock gave a summary of the budget. By category: General fund $5,637,098; Road & Bridge $8,363,390; Airport $7,000; District & Magistrate Courts $1,687,231; County Fair $261,297; Justice fund $6,115,858; Capital Crimes Defense Fund $13,128; Health District $222,173; Special Road & Bridge $875,000; Consolidated Elections $192,137; Indigent $226,446; Junior College Tuition $100,000; Park & Recreation $427,859; Revaluation $392,513; Solid Waste $4,018,789; TORT $205,161; Veteran Memorial Maintenance $3,500; Weeds $588,651; Waterways $55,815; Sheriff Emergency Communication $477,001; Debt Service Fund $475,000; PILT Payment In Lieu of Taxes $500,000; Sheriff Highway Safety Grant $26,161; American Rescue Plan $5,800,000. The total for the budget is $36,671,208.
The commissioners unanimously approved the 2021-2022 fiscal budget.