The Douglas County Board of Commissioners Wednesday approved a Fiscal Year 2019-20 county government budget that calls for $164 million in expenditures.
The $164 million figure is up $19 million over the previous year’s budget. Most of the increase is due to capital expenditures in parks, solid waste and public works. Those are primarily funded by state and federal grants and pass-through dollars.
Personnel costs are also up despite the loss of 14.75 positions, including nine from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. Wages and benefits increased for many of the remaining employees. Much of the increased cost is due to increases in public employee retirement system benefits.
The budget will take $9.2 million from the general fund reserves, leaving $41.8 million. Historically, the reserves were filled with federal timber harvest revenue sharing dollars and safety net payments. If those dollars aren’t restored, the county could soon face significant cuts to programs and services. Another possibility that has been floated is the possibility of asking voters to approve a public safety levy to help fund the sheriff’s office.
The money generated from property taxes makes up a relatively small portion of the budget. Property tax revenues are estimated at about $10.1 million for 2019-20. The tax rate will remain the same as the previous year’s at $1.11 per $1,000 of property tax value.