The Douglas County Budget Committee will begin meeting Monday to discuss the county government’s 2017-18 fiscal year budget. The proposed $138.7 million budget would dip lightly into the reserves, to the tune of $9 million, and reduce the number of county employees from 538 to 525.
This year’s budget is about $200,000 higher than the 2016-17 budget approved last June, but takes less than the $11 million budgeted out of the reserves last year.
The budget committee will meet in Room 216 of the Douglas County Courthouse, 1036 S.E. Douglas Ave., Roseburg, at 9 a.m. both Monday and Tuesday and ending around 5 p.m. each day. The meetings will be streamed online at ustream.tv/channel/douglascountyoregon
Monday’s meeting begins with the annual budget message, followed by discussion of the sheriff’s budget. Budgets will be addressed department by department over the course of the two days. Public comment will be taken.
This budget will for the first time include no direct funding for the library system, though some money will be allocated for maintenance of the Roseburg library building. A year ago, the libraries had the equivalent of 17.5 full-time employees. The sheriff’s department remains the county’s biggest under this budget proposal, with the equivalent of 145.5 full-time employees. Public works is the second biggest, with 75 employees.
This budget for the first time separates out the solid waste department, which was formerly part of the public works department. Solid waste is the third largest department, with 30 employees.
This year’s general fund budget would be $64.7 million, just above last year’s $64.5 million. The biggest budgeting challenge remains the loss of timber revenues and safety net funds that formerly made up the bulk of the general fund.
The public safety fund budget is $24.7 million, including all of the approximately $9 million the county will receive in property taxes. The tax rate remains $1.11 per $1,000 of property value, one of the lowest rates in the state.
A copy of the proposed budget is available at the Douglas County Courthouse, Room 301, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. It’s also available online at co.douglas.or.us, as is a copy of the budget meetings schedule.