Supervisors approve budget

The Hamilton County Board of Supervisors approved and adopted the county budget for 2013-2014 Tuesday morning following a public hearing on the proposal.

Chairman Doug Bailey said the budget is developed along the same factors each year.

“We look at the projected ending fund balance for the current year, changes in taxable property valuations and project what non-property tax revenues are going to be while projecting anticipated expenses,” he said. The supervisors hold meetings with the county department heads to determine the expenses and revenues. At the end of the process, the supervisors then determine what the new levy rates will be, he said.

“We need to be able to meet expenses and provide for an adequate fund balance to start the year off with,” he said.

Property valuations increased, Bailey said. Urban valuations were up by $12 million while rural valuations increased $32.6 million, for a total increase of $44.6 million.

“That, of course, makes the budgeting job that much easier,” he said.

The supervisors approved levy rates of $6.25 per thousand for urban properties, with the rural levy at $9.95 per thousand. The total urban levy is down 2.7 percent and the total rural levy is down 1.7 percent. Bailey said the total dollars levied on property for the 2013-2014 budget is $7,441,712, which is up from the current year by $234,654, or a 1.36 percent increase.

“In Fiscal Year 2005, Hamilton County lost over a $100 million in valuation due to the ag land productivity formula,” Bailey said. “And it took until 2011 to get back into the range of what Fiscal Year 2004 valuations were.

“We’ve continued to gain each year since,” he said. “Consequently, we are submitting the lowest level rates since 2004 for Fiscal Year 2014.”

Health insurance costs increased 11 percent, Bailey said. Wage increases totaled 2.25 percent for the county road workers. Nonunion workers gained a 50 cent per hour increase as did sheriff’s department employees and jailers.

The board also approved the compensation board recommendations for a 3.5 percent increase for the county’s elected officials.