While the $32.35 million spending plan includes a 2 bump in employee salaries, the budget is actually smaller than the $33 million in planned expenses for 2012.
The property tax increase equates to a rise of $26.13 per $100,000 in taxable value for residential homeowners. However, what that means for individual residents remains unclear, due to an average 6 percent drop in county assessed values.
Budget cuts include $63,000 salary reductions at the prosecutor’s office, in the form of cutting a victim witness coordinator to part-time and funding a juvenile prosecutor’s position part-time. Among other cuts is the elimination of the $61,000 county veterans service department, which was consolidated with other departments for 2013. Commissioners also opted to cut $16,000 in contributions to several nonprofit organizations for 2013.
Budget talks largely centered around bond payments to build the Nez Perce County Jail. The county is expected to be $880,000 short for its February 2014 jail bond payment, and $2.5 million short in February 2015, based on current budget projections and the outlook of the voter-approved half-cent sales tax.
The budget takes effect Oct. 1.