SHERIDAN — Sheridan County Commissioners held a public hearing Monday for the county’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget. The budget was approved today by commissioners at their regular meeting.
One resident, Scott Hininger, spoke to express his appreciation to the commissioners for their support of the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service for Sheridan County. Hininger is the coordinator for the county extension office.
In general, County Administrative Director Renee Obermueller said the budget is optimistic and shows slight increases over budgets for recent years.
The increase was based on assumptions of improved growth in state and local revenues and an expectation that federal funding from payment in lieu of taxes will occur. Obermueller said discussions with Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming, led the county to believe PILT funding would not go away as had been feared earlier in 2014 since it is included in the most recently passed farm bill.
The two-year direct distribution from the state was increased by approximately $358,000, Obermueller said. Those funds can be used for general county operations but not employee salaries or to hire additional employees. PILT funds were budgeted at an expected $950,000.
This year’s proposed budget also reflects modest raises for employees, Obermueller said. Raises will be $1,000 per year for salaried employees, 48-cents per hour for full-time hourly and 24-cents per hour for part-time hourly employees.
County commissioners voted earlier in the year to give no pay increases to elected officials for the next four years.
Two part-time employees will become full time due to increased workload in the county attorney’s office and IT department. No other staffing changes are expected to occur.
Obermueller said the county will use approximately $230,000 of reserves to balance the budget. General county reserves are budgeted at $6.6 million for fiscal year 2015.
The capital budget for the upcoming year does reflect a $1 million increase. Obermueller said approximately $400,000 of the increase is to pay for a one-time cost of archiving historic land and county records. Emergency renovation of the County Attorney’s office following a fire in June will cost approximately $600,000, all but $50,000 of which is expected to be covered by insurance, Obermueller said.
County funding for the year includes $1.15 million for the library, $375,000 for the fairgrounds and $120,000 for the hospital.