County set to decide budget

Sheriff’s Office cuts $160,000 from expenses

— Okanogan County commissioners are expected to vote Monday on a proposed $57.8 million budget for 2014.

The budget is an increase of about $2.5 million from what was estimated for this year, but commissioners have handed down some cuts from October’s preliminary budget. The commissioners will meet Monday starting at 9 a.m. in their hearing room, 123 N. Fifth Ave.

About $160,000 was cut from the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office, and nearly $62,000 was nixed from the commun-ications department. The jail made $36,000 in cuts, and the juvenile department followed suit at $27,000.

“The majority came out of the vehicle line item and the rest was spread throughout the budget,” Sheriff Frank Rogers said. “All in all it wasn’t a killer. Things are tight all over so we will make it work.”

More cuts ranging from $100 to $13,500 were made to the following departments: central services, elections, commissioners, building, treasurer, Superior Court, prosecutor, District Court, agent, assessor, auditor, clerk and courthouse maintenance.

Commissioner Sheilah Kennedy said a budget committee – consisting of all three commissioners, Auditor Laurie Thomas, Treasurer Leah McCormack and four other staff members – reviewed every line item of the budget throughout the process.

“You just look at your anticipated revenues and figure it as closely as you can,” Thomas said.

“We compared the current actuals spent in the budgets to assess the need to increase, decrease or keep the same to be consistent throughout each department and treat everyone the same,” Kennedy said. “For this being the first time for this type of approach to the budget it seemed to work good.

“Unfortunately, we are going to be faced with much more difficult decisions as we move through the next few years. The only way for us to survive will be for all of us working together.”

Overall, the budget breaks down into four main categories:

• Current expense – $20 million

• Miscellaneous funds – $7.68 million

• Public works – $21.35 million

• Junior taxing districts – $8.75 million

The county plans to have $1.5 million in its reserve fund.

By current expense department, anticipated expenditures include:

• Advanced expenditures – $11,500, down from $14,300 in 2013 adjusted figures

• Agent – $74,343, down from $74,680

• Assessor – $915,309, down from $918,091

• Auditor – $489,093, up from $436,195

• Building – $293,799, up from $289,837

• Central services – $231,436, down from 246,078

• Civil service – $6,150, up from $5,900

• Clerk – $449,806, down from $455,193

• Commissioners – $546,388, up from $533,226

• Communications – $739,834, up from $705,766

• Coroner – $48,045, up from $43,245

• Courthouse maintenance – $539,158, up from $514,863

• Disability Board – $1,090, up from $790

• District Court – $783,811, up from $780,251

• Elections – $222,309, up from $203,713

• Board of Equalization – $5,038, down from $6,396

• Jail – $3,477,564, up from $3,276,595

• Juvenile services – $1,551,652, up from $1,473,430

• Non-departmental – $2,712,751, down from $3,009,725

• Planning – $679,428, up from $655,630

• Prosecuting attorney – $1,307,161, up from $1,281,466

• Sheriff – $3,943,047, down from $3,999,059

• State examiner – unchanged at $50,000

• Superior Court – $505,722, down from $521,255

• Treasurer – $469,730, down from $489,716

Other agenda items for the meeting were not available before The Chronicle’s early deadline.

The commissioners will not meet Tuesday, which is Christmas Eve.

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