County board approves preliminary budget
At a meeting Tuesday morning, the Pierce County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the 2017 preliminary budget.
Auditor-Treasurer Karin Fursather said the taxable value of land in Pierce County increased by 10 percent, or nearly $2.7 million, in 2016, while the proposed budget and levy decreased from 19 percent (or $514,299) and 26 percent (or 24.22 mills), respectively.
The taxable value for 2016 was over $30.6 million, compared to nearly $28 million in 2015. The value of one county mill is $30,655.64. The 2017 budget sits at $2,236,701, and at a levy of 69.39 mills, compared to the 2016 budget with $2.751 million and 93.61 mills.
Fursather said if in-county properties’ taxable values increased by less than 26 percent then taxpayers may see a decrease in county taxes, but taxes would increase if the values increased by more than 26 percent.
– The board met with Lake Region District Health Unit Administrator Allen McKay to discuss the health unit budget.
McKay said that several factors led to increases in the health unit budget, including the state government not providing money for vaccines, a salary study, loss of maternal child health funding and health insurance increasing by 17.4 percent.
Chairman Dave Migler asked if there were any ways in which the budget request could be cut, or any savings could be incurred.
“We’re diligent in what we do,” Migler said of the board, added the board was frustrated upon seeing the increased budget request.
McKay said that some cuts had been made after the health unit board meeting and that there may be some savings if Pierce County’s health nurse were to go to 80 percent time, but in order to reduce Pierce County’s end of the budget by $10,000 the entire district budget would have to be cut by $45,000.
“It’s a little complicated, it’s not straight across the board,” McKay said.
The board voted to reject the health unit’s budget in its regular meeting earlier this month. At the meeting on Tuesday the board voted to approve the health unit’s 2017 budget request in the amount of $116,868.
– The board approved a payment of $4,190.88 from the 2013 Disaster Fund to Antelope Lake township.
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