Saturday, August 31, 2013

Leader Reports Washington County Budget Ready for Approval

From the Salem Leader:

The Washington County Council is expected to approve proposed budgets for 2014 during its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 3, a day later than usual due to the Labor Day holiday. The meeting is set for 9:30 a.m. in the government building on Martinsburg Road.

As submitted, budgets funded from the county's general fund totaled $5,611,461, compared to $5,392,578 which the council approved for this year. The state ordered the county to trim that by $329,060, which reduced the total 2013 general fund budgets this year to $4,963,518.

The county council has made few changes during budget talks. But one change is the structuring of the highway department. As submitted, the budget did not include a line item for the superintendent. Commissioner Dave Brown had proposed eliminating the position and re-assigning duties to the three district foremen and the department's secretary. His idea was shot down by Commissioner Phil Marshall, who told the council during a public hearing that $31,934 should be put back in for the superintendent. The three foreman receive approximately $30,000 each.

Another step the council appears to be in the process of implementing is another local option tax, a public safety income tax. Set at .25 of one percent, the income tax would generate about $900,000; of that approximately $650,000 would go to the county's general fund. The remaining $250,000 would be distributed to other taxing entities.

As submitted, the grand total for all budgets for next year is $14,943,342.