This past week was a busy one with four budget meetings. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) finished up its review of individual department, agency and office budgets on Thursday and Friday and then transitioned to final deliberations on Monday and Tuesday. When the dust settled, the Board made a handful of changes.
Proposed mill levy lowered
Most significantly, the BOCC lowered the proposed mill levy from 24.061 to 23.930. This was achieved by reducing several expenditures while making only a couple of minor increases. The adjustments that led to the mill change were:
The BOCC did make a couple of additions when it decided to:
The total impact of the changes to 2015 expenditures resulted in an overall reduction of over $1 million and the decrease in the proposed mill levy noted above.
Funding for 22 new deputy positions
Another key decision made by the BOCC was to include 22 new deputy positions in the Sheriff’s budget. The fiscal impact for hiring the deputies of approximately $1.3 million was in the proposed budget, albeit in the form of addition overtime funding. So, while this was an important decision, it did not change the overall budget dollars.
Johnson County Courthouse
The BOCC made changes that will impact future years’ budgets (but not 2015) when it removed the Courthouse First Floor Courtroom project from the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The courthouse project called for issuing debt ($2 million) in 2015 and making payments of $151,000 annually beginning in 2016.
Heritage Trust Fund
The BOCC directed staff to utilize Heritage Trust Fund reserves for the Museum in future years. The Heritage Trust Fund reserves, projected to be around $700,000 to $800,000 by 2016, had been used by the Heritage Trust Fund Review Board to provide grants throughout the community in support of historical preservation efforts. Starting in 2016, they will be redirected towards funding a portion of the budget for the Johnson County Museum of History, which has seen its primary funding evaporate with the state’s elimination of the mortgage registration fee over the next several years.
Employee compensation and benefits
Although there was much spirited discussion about the pros and cons of decreasing employee compensation and benefits, the BOCC supported the County Manager’s proposed salary and benefit package for 2015, including a 3 percent pool for merit increases.
The BOCC plans to formalize these decisions on Thursday and then take a bit of a break from the budget process until the Budget Public Hearing on July 28.
Have a fun and safe holiday weekend!
Scott Neufeld, Budget Director
Johnson County Government