The 2021 Bannock County Budget has been presented and approved! It was quite was to get to this point, but I think we did a good job.
The budgeting process began early in the spring with departments putting together their individual requests. Those requests then went to the Clerk’s office for review and refining. Once the Clerk was comfortable, they submitted a recommended budget to the Commissioners.
Once we received the budget we had a few days to review it along with the departmental justification for their requests. The departmental justification binder I received was about three inches thick and the budget binder was at least an inch.
After reviewing the budget, we then held multiple meetings with the individual departments and the Clerk’s office (which includes auditing) to go through the budget line by line. I think we looked at over 1,000 lines of budget! There were a lot of good discussions with a lot of give and take on all sides.
It was tough as department heads looked at telling their people there would be another year without a salary increase. But we felt it important in these uncertain times we did our part to be fiscally prudent. We also held the line on not creating a lot of new positions. The Jail, Sherrif’s office, and the Prosecutor’s office each asked for multiple new positions. But, they were willing to work with us as we reduced their request to amounts that fit within the overall goal of the budget.
A highlight of the budget was the Governor’s COVID relief funds. We had several options as to how we could use the funds. In the end, we chose to apply it directly to property tax relief. We chose this option as it was a direct benefit to the taxpayer by reducing the amount of property tax the County would request.
In the end, preparing the County’s budget is a tremendous undertaking. It took a lot of hours by a lot of different people to put together. It was a great team effort and I am proud that we were able to provide a tax decrease for the County’s portion of the citizen’s tax bills.
Below is the presentation I gave today to present the budget for approval.
2021 Budget Presentation
The 2021 Proposed Budget for Bannock County
Mill Levy Calculation
The formula for the Mill Levy
COVID Relief Dollars
We applied for $12 million in relief funds and were awarded $5.2 million from the Governor. We had several options on how we could use the funds. We chose to apply them directly to property tax relief for the taxpayers.
Some Budget Considerations
We had three major areas of concern with this years budget.
Jail & Sheriff Office Needs
The jail requested 4 detention deputies, they got 2. The Sheriff requested 1 civil deputy and an evidence tech, they got the civil position only.
An Extra Pay Period
One of the major budget concerns for the year is the extra pay period the year has. This extra pay period costs the county approx. $1.5 million dollars.
The Prosecutors Office
Requested 2 attorneys, gave 1 + 1 admin position.
The Budget Request
2020 Budget vs 2021 Budget
The biggest difference between the two budgets is the extra pay period and the Landfill expansion that we have been saving for. There are also some accounting changes that make the budget bigger.
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There was a slight increase in the property tax request, which is based on the new construction assessment. But, with the COVID Property Tax relief funds, we were able to reduce our request.
2021 Total Mill Levy
With the Governor’s money, we were able to show a 16% reduction in the levy, resulting in an approximate reduction of $30 per every $1,000 of a property’s tax assessment.
Things we are doing to be more fiscally responsible
Three Areas We Are Focusing On
We are implementing a financial analysis team to review the financial viability of all projects going forward.
We are looking for areas we can improve our purchasing by centralizing it. We anticipate major cost savings by moving to a centralized purchasing model.
We expect to complete the Landfill expansion and closure project. This is a multi-million dollar project that has spanned a couple of years.
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