County Elected Officials Hear Budget Issues

Mason County elected officials heard a summary of budget issues Tuesday. Frank Pinter, Director of Support Services, explained the results of a cashflow analysis of the County’s General Fund to Superior Court Judge Toni Sheldon, Assessor Melody Peterson, Clerk Sharon Fogo, Treasurer Lisa Frazier, Sheriff Casey Salisbury, Coroner Wes Stockwell, Auditor Karen Herr and Commissioners Teri Jeffreys, Kevin Shutty and Randy Neatherlin as well as representatives from the Mason County Prosecutor’s office and others.

Staff wanted the electeds to know the limitations in the current budget and the potential issues that could come in 2018. As explained at a briefing last week, the County’s reserves were down to about $170,000 in March before property tax payments started to come in. A similar situation could occur next year if current spending trends continue which is project to leave the county about $1 Million short of having 9 percent reserves. The County would like to increase their reserves to 14 percent but that would mean a $3 Million reduction in the budget for next year.

The County is taking some actions to increase its revenues which include implementing a false alarm policy and nuisance programs, reviewing fees, removing medical benefits for two benefits households and reducing eligibility of medical for part time staff.

The electeds were asked for their input on other options to increase revenues which could mean a levy shift or asking voters to approve a property tax lid lift or sales tax increase.

They were also asked to look at reducing costs which could come in the form of a hiring freeze or reduction in staff or services.

No decisions have been made.