Stutsman County 2010 spending could increase by $2 millionThe Stutsman County Commission took its first look at the proposed budget for 2010 at a special meeting Tuesday. The first draft of the budget includes a $2 million increase in expenditures.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The Stutsman County Commission took its first look at the proposed budget for 2010 at a special meeting Tuesday. The first draft of the budget includes a $2 million increase in expenditures.
“We’re budgeting a lot of extra money to repair roads,” said Noel Johnson, chief operating officer of Stutsman County. “There is about $300,000 for loans to townships to repair roads, about $600,000 out of the emergency fund to repair roads and about $300,000 to repair flooded buildings at the county parks.”
Another increase in expenses is health insurance for county employees.
“Our health insurance went up 35 percent or about $300,000,” Johnson said. “That is an increase of about $270 per month for each employee with family coverage.”
The county provides a single plan with about $200 per month billed to employees with a family plan. Johnson said one of the options for dealing with the extra costs would be to pass a larger portion of the cost to the employees.
The proposed budget doesn’t include any salary increases for employees. The employee group proposed a 2 percent step increase and a 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase. The total cost of the proposal is $279,000 and will be decided by the commission later in the budget process.
In 2009 the county operated on an expenditure budget of $16.1 million and revenue of $15.7 million. The proposed 2010 budget also includes deficit spending.
“At this time the budget includes expenses of $18.1 million and revenues of $16.5 million,” Johnson said.
Budget worksheets presented to the commission by Johnson projected 25 of the county’s 51 departments spending in the red in 2010.
“We ended 2008 with $8.4 million in reserves,” Johnson said. “We project we’ll end 2009 with $7.5 million in reserves and, if the proposed 2010 budget is approved, we’ll end that year with $5.9 million.”
Revenue for the county will be up in 2010. Property valuations in the county increased by an average of 5 percent, Johnson said. This will result in an additional $440,000 in revenue if the county levies the same mill rate.
The commission will revisit the budget at another special meeting to be scheduled during the regular County Commission meeting on Aug. 18.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at email@example.com