Council approves decreased operating budget
Monday, with less than a week left in 2015, the Summit County Council unanimously approved a $62.6 million budget for the coming year.
Council members agreed to the budget with little to no discussion following the third public hearing that has been held this month, according to Summit County Manager Tom Fisher. No members of the public attended. A clerical error that was made during the public notification process prompted the third hearing.
The $62.6 million budget is 8.1 percent above last year’s $57.9 million budget and includes $14.8 million specifically earmarked for capital projects. However, excluding capital projects, the operating budget represents a .6 percent or nearly $400,000 decrease from last year.
"There will be no increase in taxes and, in fact, fund balances, which is kind of my measure of the health of the government, are remaining above what we have set as a threshold," Fisher said "From my perspective and this being my first year, I am pleased with the process."
The approved budget will fund five new full-time positions, including a Sheriff’s administration lieutenant, corrections road crew deputy, public works administrative assistant, facilities secretary, environmental health administrator and a storm water coordinator. Two positions are also being switched from part time to full time.
"We attempted to be very conservative and responsible even with the growth and development," Fisher said. "We are still staying constrained in overall expenditure level and, on the capital side, I think the big thing is that even though it is going up from $9-million plus to a little over $14 million, most of that is the carryover of projects that are either multiple-year projects or didn’t get accomplished in 2015."
Some of the proposed projects for 2016, including more than $10 million for facility projects, are as follows:
- $806,000 for reconstruction and interchange work at Jeremy Ranch
- $80,000 for reconstruction of the Kilby Road roundabout
- $1.7 million for road construction and overlay in the Silver Creek area
- $5.2 million for expansion of the Kamas Services Building
- $3 million for development of the county’s new fairgrounds
- $60,000 for Coalville Courthouse improvements
Some of the requests that weren’t granted were more in the realm of anticipating the need to increase service levels in areas such as mental health services, Fisher said. Providing services for the public’s safety and health account for roughly $20 million of the overall budget.
"If you look at our council’s strategic priorities, we are moving a lot of expenditures into transportation planning and more into affordable and workforce housing," Fisher said. "We will continue to see that focus and I think the council has really put some good scrutiny and time into a providing a good budget for the community for 2016."
To view the FY 2016 budget summary or presentation, visit the Summit County homepage at http://summitcounty.org/.
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