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Sat, Aug. 24

County administrator anticipates tight budget next year

PRESCOTT ­ County officials, department heads and employees may have to tighten their belts next year.

The Board of Supervisors took a first look at the county's fiscal year 2007-08 budget during a retreat in Jerome Wednesday and not a lot of money is available for frills and extras this year.

County Administrator Jim Holst anticipates a 2 percent increase in the General Fund budget, with only $2.1 million available for new positions, programs and capital items.

Holst begins building the budget with no increase to the 2006-07 fiscal year

budget.

The county's assessed primary valuation increased 16 percent, from $2.1 billion to $2.5 billion.

The administrator said an increase in valuation would result in a decrease in the tax rate, from $1.65 to $1.53 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Holst anticipates General Fund revenue at approximately $95.3 million, a

5 percent increase from fiscal year 2006-07's $90.5 million. The estimated General Fund revenues include $37.7 million from the primary tax levy; $36.4 million from state and county sales tax; and $21.1 million from other revenue sources.

Holst said officials must earmark $700,000 for increases in Social Security, medical insurance and retirement costs.

Human Resources Director Julie Ayres predicted any increase in insurance costs for employees and dependents at less than 10 percent.

The administrator said he built a 2 percent salary increase into the "working" budget. The increase would cost the county $800,000, if the supervisors approve it.

Holst said this reduces the amount of money available to $2.1 million or

a 2 percent increase.

Supervisor Carol Springer said the county would have "a tight budget this year."

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