County health and highway department discuss budget

By Jim McCabe on July 10 at 1:25pm

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Two more department heads spoke today as Morgan County commissioners continued the Fiscal Year 2014-2015 budget process.

Numbers were presented by Dale Bainter, the administrator of the county health department, and highway department engineer Matt Coultas.

The health department’s projected total expenses are $1.3 million, which is about $2-thousand more than last year. Commissioner chair Brad Zeller says the levy request from the health department last year was $319-thousand, but they only got $313-thousand.

Zeller says this year the health department is requesting $349-thousand, which would be a $35-thousand increase in request from the county board.

“Well it’s a concern because our levy will not increase that much this year because the CPI is going to be very low and we have have very little growth in the community,” says Zeller.

“We won’t be able to levy anymore than we have in the past, so if we get requests from more money in a certain account we will have to take that money away from somewhere else.”

Zeller notes salary with long-time health department employees is a concern.

“That’s a universal concern,” says Zeller.

“We have a lot of long time employees at the county with we are grateful and appreciative of, but when you have those long time salaries they tend to be the most expensive employees that you have. This is understandable and something we greatly appreciate.”

Bainter, who is in his first full year as health department administrator, said during the meeting that he’d like to see a consolidation of the county tuberculosis clinic as a money-saving measure.

Commissioners supported a referendum that would have ended the TB clinic last April, but the measure was defeated.

The highway department’s projected expenses totaled about $3 million, which is about $700-thousand less than last year. Zeller says that department’s levy request is the same as last year.

The budget process continues next Tuesday at 9 a-m with the animal control and regional superintendent departments.