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Commissioners Grapple With Budget Process

County leaders are preparing to make some difficult decisions as they begin working on the upcoming budget.
County leaders are preparing to make some difficult decisions as they begin working on the 2013-2014 budget.  Despite several department heads asking for additional employees the county is eliminating a contract position and adding a part-time worker.

Chief Administrator Officer Bill Dempsey said through attrition the county has seen a 10 percent reduction in staff since 2007. "We're to the point that 10 percent is equivalent to  $1.2  to $1.3 million dollars annually  so that move has keep our noise above water during these tough economic times."

Sheriff Andy Hughes requested five deputies and two clerks at the jail. His requests were denied as well as the request  made in  the probate office. They wanted to add more clerks. “It would take a one percent increase in sales tax to pay for the salary and benefits of an employee,” explained Dempsey.

Commission Chairman Mark Culver said  this budget year expenses outweigh the revenue. At the start of Monday’s budget hearing the county had over a million dollars more in expenses than revenue. “We don't have a lot of growth opportunity in the revenues we have. Some of it its depended upon the economy and while it is better when  you have expenses like we have, it eats up that growth pretty quick,” said Culver,

It’s not all bad news for the county. Also included in the budget is a proposed one percent cost of living raise.  If approved, all employees will receive the benefit. 

The county commission will vote on the $39 million budget on September 9th.

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