Supervisors get down to dollars & cents on county budget

Expect a significant increase in levy rates

Greene County supervisors spent time at the Feb. 4 poking numbers into the calculator apps on their cell phones to find out exactly how much their spending on community betterment discretionary funding has increased in recent years.After adding columns of figures from budget spread sheets prepared by auditor Jane Heun, the supervisors realized Funding has increased from $117,104 in FY14 to $132,460 in the current fiscal year, an increase of more than 12 percent. That works out to 2 percent per year, but the supervisors are concerned to see a trend of larger increases.

Spending on discretionary line items like the Greene County Early Learning Center, RSVP 55+, ACCESS, the Fair Association and others was at $125,000 in FY16, $126,800 in FY17, and $128,460 in FY18. The requests for FY20 total $143,087, more than $10,600 above the current year – an 8 percent increase.

“We need to let people know that in the future, because of our resources, we may have to look at those things and cut back,” board chair John Muir said.

Supervisor Dawn Rudolph noted the elevators in the courthouse and the bell tower (which the county owns) need to be updated, the bell tower roof needs to be repaired and there are upcoming expenses to enhance courthouse security. “Every one of these things are important. I don’t want anybody to think these things aren’t important…. But we have things we need to do here at the courthouse. This is our place of business.”

The supervisors are also hoping to do a large update of the HVAC system.

Auditor Heun is waiting for the cost of the county’s property, liability and workers compensation insurance to start figuring levy rates. She said taxpayers can look for the levy rates to increase, despite the increase in total taxable valuation, particularly considering the change to county-run ambulance. Heun said adding ambulance staff as county employees will cause a “tremendous” increase in workers compensation insurance rates.

About 30 percent of discretionary funding comes from money paid by Louis Dreyfus LLC in lieu of property taxes. That fund will be available for another eight years and then the Dreyfus fund will expire.

On the Feb. 7 agenda is approving an agreement with Duerson Corporation to replace the 1956 rubber roof on the bell tower with a plastic roof. Cost is between $12,500 and $15,000. Along with normal aging, perforations in the rubber to mount speakers, no longer necessary with the installation of actual bells, have left the roof leaking considerably.
Money for that maintenance is in the current year budget. It was earmarked for a new elevator, pending approval of a grant from Grow Greene County to pay the larger part of that cost. The grant was not funded and the money is still available. The work will be done this spring.

The supervisors approved a fee schedule for Greene County Ambulance. Fees range from $1,025 down to $700, depending on the care needed, and an $18/per mile charge. Those are the fees that will be charged to insurance carriers. According to current ambulance operator Dennis Morlan, insurance carriers pay what they want, regardless of what is billed.

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