County hearing set on $11 million budget

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

The Board of Elmore County Commissioners will accept public input on the budget for Fiscal year 2004 on Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Commissioners' Room in the basement of the courthouse. This year's budget is tentatively set at $11,260,067.

County Clerk/Auditor Gail Best pointed out one notable change in the proposed budget is several capital improvement funds have been established at the recommendation of the county's outside auditor, Brent Hyatt, of Holmstead, Hyatt, Coleman and Mahlke. The funds include dedicated trust funds set aside for use in the future for a justice center, facilities expansion and fair buildings. "These trust funds will keep the funds separate from the day-to-day expenses, giving us a clearer picture of our financial position," said Best.

"One big relief is that we are not adding any new departments this year, which has been a big challenge in the last three years." Increased demands for services and additions of facilities have added three new positions to the county's payroll -- one in plant facilities, one in the Sheriff's Department and one in dispatch, which is partially funded by the city of Mountain Home.

"As you review the tentative budget, you may notice a significant change in the plant facilities budget," noted Best. "This is due to reducing the line item for security equipment by $30,000 and the removal of the $924,000 Capital Building Fund line item," she explained.

An increase in the Indigent/Pension budget is mainly due to mental health commitments that are court ordered "and which we have no control over," said Best.

She also noted an increase in the ambulance budget due to the cost of the contract.

The PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) budget is increased, but all except $205,000 will be transferred out Oct. 1 to help fund the Justice Fund, ambulance and Glenns Ferry Police contract.

The Fair budget also has been increased because the fair board is hoping to make some capital improvements if the funds come in to do so, she explained.

This year's budget reflects an increase in the Juvenile Justice Fund to institute additional drug and alcohol programs for juveniles in the upcoming budget year.

The budget for Enhanced 911 has increased sharply for several reasons, said Best. The county and E-911 are paying equally for the salary of an employee working for both entities. Multiple line items have been added for expenses that will be incurred to actually get the E-911 system in place. But, since the city of Mountain Home has decided not to readdress, it is likely to spend less than originally estimated, she said.

The Glenns Ferry Humanitarian budget has been closed out. The dedicated funds from that account have been given to the Glenns Ferry Senior Center.

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