County Board Discusses Framework to Develop 2013 Budget
The Washington County Board of Commissioners discussed the process for the county to develop its 2013 budget April 3, which will start at the end of April.
The board reviewed principles for the budget process ranging from focusing on providing effective core services and programs to maintaining a strong financial position.
The board also reviewed the county's recent fiscal accomplishments, such as:
- low tax rate;
- low per capita spending and property tax;
- multi-year winner of Government Finance Officers Association awards;
- bond ratings of AAA and Aaa reaffirmed.
One budget component that has changed in recent years is the source of the county's income. In 2008, the county's property tax levy accounted for 42 percent of the county's revenue; in 2012, the net levy will account for 50 percent of the county's income; four years ago, intergovernmental sources accounted for 31 percent of the county's income; in 2012, intergovernmental revenue will account for 26 percent of the county's revenue.
Budgeted annual operating costs per capita remain at the second lowest level in the metropolitan area, at $612. The budgeted levy per capita for 2012 is the third lowest in the metropolitan area, and tax comparisons show Washington County has the second lowest property tax rate in the metropolitan area.
The county's operating expenditures have been reduced in 2012, from 2011, and the number of employees in 2012, at 1,065, is at a five-year low.
At the same time, requests for health care and food support continue to increase, as they have every year since 2008.
Subjects that will be addressed during the budget process, that will have an impact on the 2013 budget, are:
- debt service funding/refinancing;
- Land & Water Legacy Program bonding;
- wage and benefit settlements;
- Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) funding;
- continued increase in safety net program demand;
- non-levy revenues;
- library service models.
The county's departments will create budget estimates through June. The Office of Administration will review the budgets in July. The County Board will review budget proposals in August and September, and a proposed budget will be set Sept. 11. A public budget review meeting will be conducted in early December, and the 2013 budget will be adopted Dec. 11, along with a capital improvement budget.