JEFFERSON — County commissioners followed their own advice in developing a 2013 budget for their office and areas under their control: They held the line spending.
County Administrator Janet Discher, who prepared the budget for the commissioners, presented the document to the board on Thursday, during one of many work sessions held with county officials. The work sessions provide a forum for the elected officials and department heads to review their budget requests and justify any increases. Members of the citizens budget committee sit in on the sessions and participate in discussions.
Discher said the board’s budget holds the number of employees to five, plus the elected officials. It assumes a pay increase of 2.5 percent in 2013 for the two union employees. The other three employees are typically given the same percentage increase; commissioners’ salaries are set by the state legislature and have been unchanged for at least five years.
Discher said the board will need $432,564 for salaries and wages next year. The total budget request for the commissioners’ office is $572,339.
Commissioner Joseph Moroski pointed out that, in the past, the commissioners’ budget was inflated by items that really had little to do with their office, such as overall county obligations and supplies for the entire courthouse. This year, those budgets were broken out to provide a more accurate picture.
Gasoline, for example, is used by all most all elected officials but had been part of the commissioners’ budget. Discher said she is budgeting $400,000 for fuel in 2013. The board is on track to spend $384,100 for gasoline this year. The allocation covers every county department that fills up its vehicles at the county pump. Access cards allow Discher to track gasoline usage by department, and non-general fund users are billed for their fuel use.
Commissioners originally allocated $344,100 for gasoline this year, but a combination of rising prices and increased use required an additional appropriation, along with a request that all elected officials put the brakes on gasoline use. The sheriff’s department is the largest general fund user of fuel and does not reimburse the line item from its allocations.