Gloomy Forecast for Elmore Budget
During the Elmore County Commissioners meeting on July 23rd, 2021, a tentative budget was put forward for the fiscal year of 2022. The prediction and initial budget plan put Elmore County in a deficit for the upcoming year of up to $1,000,000 without dipping into PILT funds. The county had three large pools of money to draw from during the discussion of the meeting: property taxes, PILT funds, and ARPA funds.
PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) is funding granted by the National government to make up for non-taxable federal lands in the county.
ARPA (American Recovery Plan Act) is a federal program designed to help the nation recover from the COVID-19 epidemic, part of which is available to Elmore County as long as certain conditions are met. ARPA funding is somewhat limited in scope, as it can only be applied to Infrastructure and “Drinking Water” according to the Idaho Treasury. ARPA funding was not included in the initial plan due to the limitations in place but can be used to offset some of the costs.
The Commissioners took several steps to reduce the deficit including reconsidering some plans to increase or upgrade current positions in county departments. A chief example is the denial of a new building inspector and planner for the Elmore Land Use and Building Department. Secondly, the Commissioners considered the application of PILT funding, but that does not cover the entirety of the deficit. Lastly, the County considered using ARPA funding for construction, which would leave more PILT funding for covering the deficit and for use in future projects.
The plans discussed were not finalized, the final budget was not signed, but the commissioners signed on the tentative plan to allow future publication in the Newspaper in preparation for a public hearing.
The full budget plan will be in the Mountain Home News on August 4th, and the final budget will be signed on August 20th.
County Commissioners Approve Funding and Grant for 911 Services
The Commissioners met with Traci Lefever to discuss funding for Elmore County’s 911 services. Traci had discussed some minor budgeting items to keep software up to date, which the County approved, and a grant application to keep an electronic app service running. The app, Smart911, is part of a free service offered by the county to aid first responders. Participants log all the information they would like to provide to first responders (all information provided is voluntary), and when the participant calls 911 the information they provide through the app will be given to first responders. This service provides an easy way to inform first responders of location, disabilities, allergies, children, and other information. The service has been available to the county for the past eight years.