County Commission considers budgetThe Stutsman County Commission heard preliminary budget needs at Tuesday’s meeting for several agencies including law enforcement, corrections and the State’s Attorney’s Office for the county.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The Stutsman County Commission heard preliminary budget needs at Tuesday’s meeting for several agencies including law enforcement, corrections and the State’s Attorney’s Office for the county.
Casey Bradley, county auditor/chief operating officer, said the Stutsman County State’s Attorney’s Office has requested the addition of a third assistant state’s attorney to help with an increasing caseload.
The new position is expected to cost the county about $72,000 annually depending on benefits and experience.
The Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office also requested the wage and benefits of a Stutsman County Narcotics Task Force member be picked up in the next budget as well.
The position is funded by five counties through a state grant, of which the majority will be cut.
Bradley proposed the county pick up the wages and benefits because it’s more difficult to fill a position that’s funded by grants as amounts tend to fluctuate.
Bradley said the county would pay the employee, which it does already through reimbursement; part is paid for through the other counties.
“We have a commitment from the five counties that are a part of it that this program works,” he said after the meeting. “It leverages resources across all five counties. As a whole each county can’t afford these resources.”
The Stutsman County Correctional Center stands to operate in 2013 with a $30,000 deficit, Bradley said. However, Bradley also said he expects it to run in the black by the end of the year.
Changes in how staff operates are being discussed for the correctional center. Right now the plan is to promote three employees to sergeants. The move would eliminate the shift between morning and night shifts and essentially save money.
“We’re completely changing the way they’re working over there and it has a huge impact,” Bradley said.
Commissioner Mark Klose said there still are some areas in the budget that could be picked up by other departments, such as rental space and heating and cooling that the correctional center pays for.
“I think it’s a little unrealistic for the jail to cover maintenance,” Klose said.
These departments and others could be up for discussion with department heads at the next commission meeting Sept. 4. No time has been set yet.
In other business, the county finalized weight restriction reclassification along Stutsman County Road 40 or Old Highway 10 from N.D. Highway 20 to Cavendish Farms.
The increase is from an 80,000-pound maximum to a 105,500-pound maximum. The change will result in less semi-truck traffic through Jamestown.
“It’s a safety issue to keep those trucks from town and I think that road is built up enough to handle 105,5 (pounds),” said Commissioner Dale Marks.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at email@example.com