Friday, July 17, 2009

County budget hearings start Monday

Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County Board of Commissioners will hold three budget hearings next week to discuss the county's spending priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.

Revenues are down from last year, but the county expects to face the same expenses that it has during fiscal 2008-09.

The county's budget for 2008-09 is $22,689,617. After carryovers, Blaine County taxpayers were levied $8,164,300 of that amount.

County Clerk Jolynn Drage said state revenues are down 12 percent from last year along with a drop in interest on city accounts. She said building permit fees are down 35-40 percent. However, she said, property tax collections will remain the same.

"We will be looking at ways to make cuts," she said. "We have budget requests, but it is too soon to say what will happen."

The County Commissioners have called for no increases in salaries, capital purchases or general expenses from the current fiscal year, unless those expenses are deemed "unavoidable." Drage said the new county jail is likely to require unavoidable increases in expenses.

The Monday, July 20, budget hearing will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will cover the commissioners, public defenders, assessor, revaluation, treasurer, coroner, sheriff, jail, Bellevue marshal, Ketchum police, probation, extension, IT, dispatch, planning and zoning, water quality, GIS, road and bridge, weeds, waterway, E-911 and county liability.

The meetings will continue on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and Thursday at 10 a.m.

Tony Evans:

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