County's budget discussions in full swing [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]
(Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Budget workshops set for today - 8 a.m.: Sunnycrest. - 9:45 a.m.: Auditor, Information Services, County General, District Court, Phone Services, Economic Development. - 12:30 p.m.: Mental Health and Development Disabilities. - 2 p.m.: Conservation. - 3:30 p.m.: Board of Health.
The long road toward a completed fiscal year 2014 Dubuque County budget started Tuesday with the first of several budget workshops.
In the coming days and weeks, the county's Board of Supervisors will meet with department heads and elected officials to discuss projected revenues and expenses of each county department. These discussions eventually will lead to final budget projections that will help determine tax levy rates for the upcoming fiscal year.
The supervisors will only offer tentative approval of budget requests at the workshops, as final adjustments might need to be considered once all departments have had an opportunity to present.
"If, all of a sudden, our budget's too high " we need to take a little off of everybody, which I hope isn't the case," said supervisor Daryl Klein.
On Tuesday, the supervisors discussed:
* Emergency support services, which include the Dubuque County Emergency Management office. The department provides loans to local fire departments and oversees emergency preparedness initiatives.
A tentatively approved budget estimate predicts revenues of $68,559 and expenses of $582,170 for fiscal year 2014.
* Capital projects, which are building maintenance and enhancement projects.
Expenses for the current fiscal year have been adjusted from about $2.5 million to $1.9 million. Those funds are being drawn from a loan taken in 2010 that also has helped provide upgrades to law enforcement software and the courthouse phone system.
Thanks to the sale of the Julien Care facility last year, the county was able to avoid drawing an additional $500,000 from the loan. Had the county kept the property, it would have had to install a potentially costly sprinkler system.
The budget estimate for 2014 predicts capital improvement expenses of $644,064.
* Veteran Affairs, which provides services, including financial assistance, to military veterans.
The department is predicting personnel costs of $236,465 and operating expenses of $200,965, which also include costs for direct services. Revenues are projected at $12,500.
The day-long blocks of work sessions are designed to allow the supervisors enough time to adequately consider requests from each department in advance of a state-mandated March 15 deadline to have budgets approved. If the supervisors are able to maintain their projected time line, a public hearing on the budget will be held March 4.
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