“That increased revenue, $1.2 million in budget reductions and then the Medicaid closed the gap…,” she said. “This is the first year where we had a situation where revenue was being reduced. We haven’t had that since I’ve been here so that made the budget cycle more challenging.”
The county was anticipating a jump of $2.3 million — or 5.4 percent — in sales taxes next year, but Keels trimmed that back to about $41.5 million overall.
The commissioners also on Thursday agreed to send $2 million to the budget stabilization fund which currently stands at $4 million. Commissioner T.C. Rogers said they are in good shape.
“We’re on track and we got pretty much most (office holders and independent boards) to cooperate with where we’re going,” Rogers said.
Included in the budget is also a new edition of pay-for-performance that will allow the county the flexibility to reward their employees but also pull back if finances turn sour. All of the commissioners non-union employees will get a two percent increase on their base pay and up to two percent paid out quarterly in lump sums.
“What is critical is we do not allow our base wages to increase faster than our revenues increase,” Administrator Charlie Young. “And our revenues have been increasing at about two percent.”
Commissioner Don Dixon remembers several years ago when the county was on a slippery financial slope and laid off about 500 people, froze wages and made other cuts to weather the recession.
“It was an adjustment that needed to happen but it was painful it had to happen so quickly,” he said. “But now we’re on target, we’re on plan and I just can’t tell you what a difference it makes having all the office holders pulling together.”