County's proposed budget shortfall less than initial estimate

March 06, 2001

County's proposed budget shortfall less than initial estimate


Washington County's proposed $129.4 million general fund, unveiled Tuesday, has a shortfall of $673,118, County Administrator Rodney Shoop said.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said he was pleased this year's initial shortfall is about 10 percent of what it was last year.

When the fiscal 2001 budget was first introduced it showed a $6 million shortfall.

Asked if having a smaller shortfall will make the commissioners work easier and simpler Snook said, "Clearly."

"Basically what has been happening here is staff knows there won't be any major revenue increases," Snook said.

As the budget was developed, requests were cut in order to minimize any increases, he said.

At Tuesday's meeting, the commissioners were given an overall summary of the general fund and some of the revenues. At future meetings, including one next week, general fund expenses will be discussed more specifically.


The commissioners made it through only 140 pages of the 358-page working draft of the budget during a 2 1/2 hour discussion Tuesday.

The proposed budget fully funds the Washington County Board of Education operating costs at $69.8 million, said Budget and Finance Director Debra Bastian, who led the discussion. That is a 9.4 percent increase over last year's funding level of $63.8 million. It includes $896,000 in one-time costs.

The budget includes about $7.9 million in anticipated new revenue. More than 90 percent of that money is to come from property and income taxes.

The budget estimates about $4.9 more in income tax revenues than are in the current budget. The new estimated level would be $48.1 million, an 11.4 percent increase over this year.

Last year the county increased the income tax rate to 2.8 percent, up from 2.51 percent.

The proposed budget anticipates the county will receive about $2.5 million more in revenues from the real estate tax. The new estimated amount is $58.3 million, an increase of about 4.5 percent over the current budget year.

Overall, Washington County is projecting about $129 million in general fund revenues for the next fiscal year, a 6.5 percent increase over the present year, Budget and Finance Director Debra Bastian said.

The general fund revenue for the current fiscal year, which ends July 1, is $121.5 million, Bastian said.

The proposed budget has about $130.1 million in general fund expenses. That is a 6.8 percent increase over the present year, she said.

The County Commissioners will have to make cuts and/or find ways to increase revenue, such as through taxes, to balance the budget.


Some of the highlights of the fiscal 2002 proposed $129.4 million general fund budget:

Projected revenues: $129.4 million

Last year's budgeted revenues: $121.5 million

Projected expenses: $130.1 million

Last year's budgeted expenses: $121.8 million

Present shortfall: $673,118

Full funding to school board for operating expenses: $69.8 million

Last year's funding: $63.8 million

Source: General Fund operating budget working draft.

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