Approved Monday- 2019 County Budget Totals $12,914,137.61 - The Independent-Journal: Local News

Approved Monday- 2019 County Budget Totals $12,914,137.61

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Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2019 10:46 am

Hourly wages adjusted for several County Employees.

Starting wage for County employees is now $10.40 per hour.

The Washington County Commission and County Clerk/Budget Officer Jeanette Allen held the annual County Budget Hearing beginning at 7 P.M. Monday, January 28th in the Circuit Court Room.

The small group of approximately 20 people were in attendance, some elected officials, employees of county entities and some general public.

It was noted that the 2019 Budget includes hourly pay increases for some County employees and a new minimum starting wage of $10.40 per hour.

The meeting was called to order and Presiding Commissioner Dave Sansegraw opened with prayer and said “Thank you all for coming to our Annual Washington County Budget Hearing. I want to start off by pointing out the $106,000 addition to the Sheriff’s Department budget.”

Sansegraw went on to say that due to loss of revenue through drug testing services, the Sheriff’s Department revenue was down by $100,000 in 2018. Commissioner Sansegraw said, “We want to support our law enforcement and the Commission wanted to take a proactive stance against crime and stay on top of that through the Sheriff’s Department.”

The Budget Message is in the front of the budget and reads as follows:

“The 2019 Operating Budget for Washington County reflects conservatively estimated revenues totaling $10,014,977.00.

The funds available for the General Revenue Fund total $3,475,770.04. Road and Bridge Funds total $3,910,314.01. The Assessment Fund totals $473,467.60 and the Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Fund totals $1,627,580.32.

The 2018 budget year ended with a surplus of $347,380.10  in the General Revenue Fund. Of that balance, $337,380.14 was transferred to the General Revenue Building Fund. The 2019 Operating Budget will utilize $60,000.00 from the Building Fund to pay a portion of the 2018 ADA upgrades to the Washington County Courthouse and Sheriff’s Department.

County Employees will receive a .40¢ per hour raise and the minimum starting salary for county employees has been raised to $10.40 per hour. The Washington County Commission is dedicated to providing a fair wage to all employees, and with the passing of Proposition B in mind, the Commission is striving to be in a position to provide the same starting wage to county employees as Prop B has mandated for private sector employees by 2023.

Written by Budget Officer Mrs. Jeanette Allen. Thank you.”

Presiding Commissioner Dave Sansegraw introduced Sheriff Zach Jacobsen to address some of the challenges, issues and successes with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Jacobsen explained the competition with the private sector drug testing business and the open market approach that has to be considered with that business.

Jacbosen said crime was up 22% from 2017 to 2018. The Department answered over 20,000 calls in 2018. The daily average was 54 calls per day.

The Sheriff gave his jail inmate counts from 2017 at a high of 72 and a low of 40. For 2018, the inmate count was 75 on the high end and the low was at 22 when the jail was being worked on. In 2019, the high has already been 85 inmates and the low is at 56 so far.

The Sheriff also pointed out that he has 10 inmates that have been incarcerated for over a calendar year.

Presiding Commissioner Sansegraw called on 1st District Commissioner Doug Short and asked about specifics for the District. Commissioner Short pointed out the FLAP road projects - Jinkerson, Floyd Tower and Pigeon Roost - noting that the grants for those projects are dedicated to those specifically. Short said, “2018 ended good and we hope for the same in 2019.”

2nd District Cody Brinley shared the same sentiment and talked about the Districts sharing the Pigeon Roost road project. Brinley also added, “We’ve got two bridge projects that we want to do, with one being a grant and the other our own.”

Presiding Commissioner Sansegraw brought up the A.D.A. compliance order that continues from the Dept. of Justice. The County has continued to work on the Courthouse and the Jail to bring them to compliance.

An example of the updates at the jail was a new H.V.A.C. system that was bid by a company at $250,000. Sansegraw said, “We know we can’t afford that and we’ve got to find some alternatives.”

The Presiding Commissioner pointed out again the wage increase and noted that the idea was to keep the County current with the minimum wage for the public sector to have a competitive work force.

Sansegraw expressed his appreciation and the Commission’s appreciation for the Washington County employees and the work they do.

Doug Short, 1st District Commissioner made the motion to accept the 2019 Budget for the County and 2nd District Commissioner Cody Brinley seconded the motion. The Budget was approved.

Dave Sansegraw, Presiding Commissioner thanked everyone present again for their attendance and support.

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