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Council Balances Proposed Budget With Fund Balances

Daniel Prince

No tax increase planned

Union County Council met Wednesday afternoon to finalize the fiscal year 2022-2023 budget for Union County. The budget totals $22,102,065. It has to be balanced by state law. Projected revenues are expected to come in around $20 million, up from the $19 million figure they had used based on last year’s audit. To balance the budget, the county will transfer $100,000 from bond revenues to help offset some of the capital costs. They will transfer $1 million from the community development fund, leaving a balance of at least $1.3 million in that fund. They will transfer $310,000 from hospitality and accommodations to cover some of the tourism-related activities and outside agencies. They also plan to transfer $647,000 from the general fund balance, which would represent the first time they have dipped into that reserve in around 8 years or so. The general fund balance would be $7.1 million, which represents four months of the budget in reserve, which is considered a healthy balance. The county is not proposing a tax increase this year. They can go back next year and recoup the millage if needed.

The budget does include a part-time public works position to help with cardboard recycling, as well as the purchase of a baler for cardboard. Public Works and Recycling will take over cardboard recycling from Pratt Industries Recycling. Pratt was going up on their fees, and typically the cardboard container at the recycling sites would fill up quickly, leading to a large amount of cardboard waste going to the landfills. After looking at the financial aspects of handling the cardboard themselves, they felt they could at least break even on it and provide a better experience for the public, with fewer times that the cardboard containers would be too full to use.

The budget includes a clerk to council position and a part-time docket clerk for the clerk of court’s office, added at the request of the chief administrative judge, as they are trying to be more efficient at moving cases through. The budget includes increases in the pay for constables in the magistrate’s office, as they are armed and will have more of a role in the courthouse after the sheriff’s office moves to its new location.
The budget will be presented for its third and final reading in the June council meeting.

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