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County Council Tasked With Closing $2.3 Million Deficit in Proposed Budget

Daniel Prince

By the end of the meeting, council trimmed $633,000 from the proposed budget

Union County Council met Thursday morning in the law library of the Union County Courthouse. Their purpose in meeting was to further discuss the fiscal year 2022-2023 budget. A few weeks back, council heard all the budget requests from county departments and outside agencies. All the budget requests were compiled, and the overall total before adding in any capital requests for equipment came to be $21.3 million. Revenue from the most recently completed audit was around $19 million, leaving a projected deficit of $2.3 million for the council to try and close. Projected revenue figures for the upcoming fiscal year will not be ready for a few more weeks. Some of the budgetary pressure this year stems from inflation, with a number of departments’ requests increasing due to the higher cost of getting materials they need. Insurance rates on the employer side are increasing in the coming year by more than 18%, and the county’s new pay schedule includes a cost-of-living increase of 3% this year as well as step increases, which could add as much as $400,000 to the total.

A number of new positions and salary increases were requested by departments, including a dedicated clerk to council; a $2/hr. increase in pay for the officers in the magistrates office, who are armed and are providing courthouse security; three deputies and a narcotics officer; an additional deputy to be stationed in the courthouse for security; a part-time kitchen supervisor for the Union County Detention Center; a position in the Veterans Affairs Office to be converted from part-time to full-time; an additional part-time position for the recycling program to help with baling cardboard if the county decides to purchase a baler and take back over cardboard recycling rather than contracting it out; two new full-time positions and an increase in part-time pay for the Parks and Recreation Department; a maintenance technician for the Building and Maintenance Department; and a full-time deputy director/training officer and an administrative assistant for Union County EMS. After discussion, the council members decided to keep the clerk to council position in the budget, increase the pay for the officers in the magistrates office, and keep the maintenance technician position. The rest of the positions they acknowledged were needed, but the money isn’t there to include them in the budget. That narrowed the budget by around $633,000, leaving around a $1.7 million deficit to cover before looking at capital requests.

We’ll have more from the meeting in tomorrow’s newscast.

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