Wednesday, September 6, 2006

County adopts $22.5 million budget

Figure is about $1 million less than last year

Express Staff Writer

Blaine County adopted a fiscal year 2007 budget on Tuesday of about $22,596,000—about $1 million less than for each of the past two years.

The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

Primary expenditures are solid waste at $3,898,350, nursing home operations at $2,295,730 and the sheriff's office at $1,771,385.

Other expensive operations are the roads and bridges department, at $1,740,229, and building and grounds at $1,688,677.

Jail operations will receive $1,047,053 and the Planning and Zoning Department will receive $813,314.

The clerk's and auditor's office will receive $661,410, and the prosecuting attorney's office will receive $552,277.

The county has appropriated $362,649 to cover hospital expenses for indigent patients.

The 2006 budget was about $23,643,000, and the 2005 budget was about $23,967,000.

Expenses were down for next year due to fewer capital outlays. The biggest item was $1.2 million for construction of a new sheriff's office and jail that had originally been budgeted for next year, but was deleted after a 5th District Court judge declared the proposed funding mechanism to be unlawful.

The county commissioners on Tuesday also approved a Blaine County Ambulance District budget of $1,681,637.

A new item for the ambulance budget was $46,000 appropriated to pay the salary of emergency medical director Dr. Keith Sivertson, who had been providing his services on a volunteer basis. Idaho law now requires each county to hire someone for that position.

Sivertson is responsible for setting ambulance service policies and overseeing training and certification of personnel.

The ambulance district obtains more than $1 million of its budget through property taxes.

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