Department budgets requested after workshops

Courtesy photo

SUBLETTE COUNTY – Following multiple days of budget workshops, the Sublette County Board of Commissioners emerged with a better picture for budgets for different county entities.

The county, as a whole, is projected to operate on a reduced budget. In February, county assessor Laila Illoway shared a report that estimated oil valuations for three quarters of the year to sit at 41.41 percent of the previous year’s value even though volumes were at 61.57 percent. Overall, it showed estimates of gas valuation at the three-quarter mark for the year at 45.20 percent of last year’s gas valuation. When comparing to 2020 certifications, Illoway wrote she anticipated a 50-percent decline in revenue from oil and gas, based upon production estimates at that time.

Those were just estimates at the time, since certified values were due around June 1.

General funds appropriations showed a cumulative requested $208,677,509 for the upcoming fiscal year, with including cash, equipment and depreciation. That is down considerably from the $219,006,729 from the year before – about 4.7 percent.

Keep in mind, these are requested amounts and require final approval before becoming official.

The board of commissioners’ entire department request came to a subtotal of $516,475, up from $435,975 the year before. The majority of that is attributed to a $100,000 grant through the fire warden to be used in the consultant account.

The county clerk's office budget fell to $337,611 because of a nearly $20,000 drop in deputies' salaries. That is also why the county treasurer’s budget dropped by over $20,000 to $336,255 from the year prior. Salaries also accounted for the assessor’s office drop to $476,735 while nearly all areas of appropriation except salaries remained the same from years prior.

A raise in the deputy attorney’s salary was more than offset by secretaries’ budget in the county attorney’s office. That department’s request came in below last year’s with a requested $595,507. Meanwhile, the district court saw a reduction in multiple allocations to bring its requested budget of $355,302.

The county’s recycling budget is requesting more funds, largely because repair funds are projected to double – with a requested $95,915. The technologies department saw a massive drop largely because of a $200,000 reduction in unforeseen projects budget. That department is now requesting $409,708 for next year’s fiscal budget. Contracts and consultation projects requested the same $45,600 as last fiscal year.

The county engineer’s budget dropped by $10,000 down to just $2,000. The courthouse and maintenance budget saw about a 15-percent deducted request with now $2,340,194 requested. That drop can be attributed to lack of new vehicle and equipment budgets, and supplies and maintenance allocation.

The county’s election budget is requested to drop by more than half down to $25,500. That comes from an 80-percent drop (to $2,000) in ballots and $15,000 drop (to $0) for election judges and assistants.

The planning and zoning department requested totals dropped to $115,051, mainly attributed to a removal of allocation funds to the plat review. The county coroner’s budget remained untouched.

The detention department is requesting $184,402 less than last year. That includes one lost position through attrition and a reduced security salary. The sheriff’s office’s requested budget also dropped, to $3,270,097, with a lost position through attrition. It also includes drops in telephone and patrol equipment with a rise in vehicular expenses. The communication budget fell to a requested $905,216 because of reduced maintenance, equipment and salary allocations.

Search and rescue requested $739,715, down slightly because of drops in volunteer retirement pension, training, supplies and administrator salary.

Treatment court saw a slight drop in requested funds to $197,615, because of cuts to salary, travel, supplies, magistrate and indigent services. Emergency management requested funds also dropped slightly down to $108,437 because of drops in salary, equipment and utilities.

The fire warden’s requested budget, relating to Sublette County Unified Fire, dropped by about 23 percent, documents show. That includes drops in equipment, apparatus purchases and maintenance allocations, as well as a removal of the $250,000 SCBA reserve.

Health department requests increased to $623,363 when accounting for COVID-19 items. That rose by less than 10 percent from the previous year, but that discrepancy accounts for grants and CARES Act funds. Health officer and sanitarian budget requests fell slightly to $47,474 because of drops in supplies and mileage.

Road and bridge’s requested budget dropped to $5,622,960, down 12.57 percent. Raises in maintenance and supervisor salary allocations were offset by a nearly $650,000 drop in heavy equipment purchases and other salaries.

The transfer station is requesting a raise (a total of $616,407), largely because of an increased contract, to $454,000. Waste management requested funds dropped to $1,037,249 (down about 32 percent), also mostly attributed to a huge drop in heavy equipment purchase funds.

The extension office requested $105,156, down from $129,648 the previous year. Those drops came to clerk salary and 4-H expenses. The ice arena's requested budget fell to $333,300, largely attributed to a $10,000 fall in salaries, with small cuts in most other allocations. The fairgrounds also requested less, largely because of a drop in salaries.

Capital improvements in the general fund dropped to $8,504,377, down from just over $10 million the year before.

The general fund requested $11,015,324, which is down by more than $3.5 million from the year before. This comes from small cuts to entities like the Sublette Center (cut by $21,200), printing (cut by $10,000), officer expenses (cut by $15,000), upgrades to the transfer station, the Children’s Learning Center (cut by $63,000), Children’s Discovery Center (cut by $18,000) and chip seal maintenance (cut by $839,000).

The county maintained a cash reserve fund of $10,000,000 with an equipment reserve fund of $11,848,000. Depreciation reserves saw minor cuts via clerk recommendations, which cut the totals by nearly $2.3 million down to $143,804,731.

Again, all of these numbers are unofficial and require a proper board vote and approval before becoming official.

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