Public able to view Lincoln County provisional 2021 budget next week

Lincoln County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a provisional 2021 budget, which includes cuts from multiple departments and shuffles more money to public safety needs. 

The provisional budget will be published next week, and the public will have an opportunity to comment Sept. 1. The county must finalize its 2021 budget by Sept. 22. 

The county in mid-July decided against taking a $7 million opt out of property tax limits, instead deciding to “hold the line” and trim the budget. 

County auditor Marlene Sweeter crafted 11 budget adjustment options for the commissioners. Commissioners on Tuesday landed on option 10, which they said best meets the county’s current needs. 

Previously:Lincoln County Commission decides against opt out, must make cuts

Each option cut from the highway fund a $2 million road project planned near Cliff Avenue and Highway 106.

Part of the budget cuts included doing away with the county’s transfer station and the supervisor’s salary was moved to government buildings. Commissioners said the decision was “very difficult.” 

“There comes a time when you’re going to have to make a huge commitment and repair that, and we run at a deficit every year on that. It was a tough decision,” said commissioner Jim Schmidt. 

More:Out of space and in decay, Lincoln County courthouse nears ‘tipping point’

Schmidt said that there are adjustments that will likely be made before the group approves a budget in September. 

The provisional budget includes an additional $350,000 moved over to judicial. Public safety-related costs, such as courts, attorneys and transportation, are about 27% of Lincoln County’s projected $23.1 million general fund. 

The option also includes: insurance adjusted to 12%, which is 8% less than originally budgeted; a 2% raise for step grade increases; $130,000 to hire a county manager and reduces the airport budget by about $9,000, money typically used for snow removal and grass mowing there. 

A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 10 a.m. in Canton.

Email reporter Danielle Ferguson at dbferguson@argusleader.com, or follow on Twitter at @DaniFergs.

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