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Lincoln County commissioners to propose 0.3% decline in spending
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Lincoln County commissioners to propose 0.3% decline in spending

After several work sessions over the last month, Lincoln County commissioners will propose a 0.3% decline in total spending in the county’s 2020-21 budget.

The budget hearing is set for 11 a.m. Monday, after the commissioners’ regular meeting.

The County Board then will vote on whether to adopt the budget before a separate public hearing and vote on changing the county’s property tax request from its 2019-20 figure. Total spending, including cash reserves required by state law, would fall to $55.37 million from last year’s nearly $55.55 million.

The property tax request to support county government, however, would rise by 4.6% to $15.98 million.

That in turn will raise the county’s 2020-21 tax rate from 30.67 cents to 31.77 cents per $100 of taxable value, an increase of 3.6%.

Commissioner Joe Hewgley said that was due mainly to payments on bonds for county road projects and the county jail expansion, both approved in 2019.

Commissioners originally were tasked with cutting $98,000 to balance the budget with state spending lids when the preliminary budget was presented earlier this summer.

But after some recalculations, Hewgley said, that amount was much less.

“In reconciling some numbers between the (county) clerk and the accountant, we won’t have quite as much left over with unused reserve than we originally thought,” Hewgley said. “We will be in the $50,000-plus range of unused reserve funds.”

Hewgley said funds were cut across several departments to meet the required reduction.

“We have one or two positions that will be going from full-time to part-time as those individuals rotated out of those positions,” Hewgley said.

Commissioners have been as conservative as possible with the budget, and he doesn’t foresee any major changes before the final vote, he said.

“We have increased over the last couple of years our materials portion in the road budget — more gravel and stuff like that,” Hewgley said. “We are trying to be a little more aggressive on our roads.”

Commissioners are considering adding another mowing position, he said, because “we can’t keep up with it.”

Even so, the county should see “a zero to one net increase in positions” over the next year, even with the likelihood of hiring “a couple of extra jailers” when the jail expansion is done.

Hewgley said no positions were cut due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It has not had an effect on the budget, but it changed the way we work in knowing that we can work remotely in some offices easier than in others,” he said.

“Because of the complexity of our security system online, not a lot of offices can do that. We have a pretty extensive firewall on what can come in and what can’t.”

Lincoln County Budget, 2019-20 (adopted) vs. 2020-21 (proposed, 9-14-2020)

Category 2019-20 2020-21* % Change % total
General Fund $20,976,808 $23,072,051 9.99% 41.67%
County Roads $8,025,945 $7,952,595 -0.91% 14.36%
Fed Buyback Program $2,178,075 $2,520,489 15.72% 4.55%
Special Road Fund $2,250,759 $1,364,093 -39.39% 2.46%
Road Improvement Fund $3,437,695 $1,768,498 -48.56% 3.19%
Child Support Incentive $150,000 $154,000 2.67% 0.28%
Lodging Tax Fund $1,358,294 $1,196,034 -11.95% 2.16%
Lodging Improvement Fund $936,600 $830,923 -11.28% 1.50%
Modernization/Preservation $77,884 $98,757 26.80% 0.18%
Self-Funded Insurance $260,500 $262,000 0.58% 0.47%
Veterans Aid Fund $45,025 $45,655 1.40% 0.08%
Drug Law Enforcement $131,100 $131,100 0.00% 0.24%
Federal Forfeiture Fund $175,000 $175,000 0.00% 0.32%
Inheritance Tax $4,369,631 $4,265,545 -2.38% 7.70%
Keno Lottery $417,000 $455,200 9.16% 0.82%
Juvenile Facility $70,000 $70,000 0.00% 0.13%
Jail Bond Fund $2,920,185 $2,655,129 -9.08% 4.79%
Road Bond Fund $1,075,000 $1,299,160 20.85% 2.35%
Handicapped Access $226,435 $226,440 0.00% 0.41%
Building Fund $1,963,732 $2,188,295 11.44% 3.95%
Jail Building Fund $4,500,000 $4,643,496 3.19% 8.39%
TOTAL-ALL FUNDS $55,545,668 $55,374,460 -0.31%
PROPERTY TAX REQUEST $15,283,320 $15,982,964 4.6%
TAXABLE VALUATION $4,983,736,045 $5,030,301,347 0.9%
PROPERTY TAX RATE $0.30666 $0.31773 3.6%
($/$100 taxable value)
*-includes necessary cash reserve where applicable.
Source: Lincoln County

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