Jefferson County passes balanced budget

First time for adoption of biennial spending plan

Philip Morley

Philip Morley

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson Board of County commissioners have approved their first biennial budget, with nearly $60 million budgeted for 2020 and $56.4 million in place for 2021.

The county commissioners approved the balanced budget during their regular meeting Monday after receiving public comment during the meeting the week prior.

County officials decided to change to a biennium budget process in March to free up staff time by going through the full budget process every other year instead of annually, Jefferson County Administrator Philip Morley said in the 20-page budget analysis.

Commissioners on Monday also raised wages for non-union employees by 1.75 percent for 2020 and 1.5 percent for 2021.

The total budgeted amount for all funds for the county for 2020 is $59,920,451. The total budgeted amounts for all funds for 2021 is $56,439,378.

“The 2020-2021 budget is a fiscally responsible budget,” Morley said.

“At just under $60 million in 2020 and $56. 5 million in 2021 across 59 separate funds, it is a balanced biennial budget that preserves current programs and services, and makes a number of important strategic enhancements.”

For the general fund budget for 2020, the expected revenues are $20,900,276, which is a 4.07 percent decrease from the projected $21,787,243 revenues for 2019.

There are $21,457,980 predicted expenditures from the general fund for 2020, which is a 0.35 percent increase over 2019’s projected expenditures of $21,382,207.

The estimated ending fund balance for the general fund for 2020 is $5,366,549, with a $2,147,852 unencumbered fund (funds that aren’t tied to a specific expense) that would be available.

The general fund revenues expected for 2021 is $21,158,533, a 1.23 percent increase over the predicted 2020 revenue.

The expenditures predicted for 2021 is $21,085,007, which is a decrease of 1.74 percent from 2020.

The estimated ending fund balance for 2021 is $4,734,410, with a $1,402,352 unencumbered fund balance.

For the other 58 separate funds the county manages (county road fund, public health fund, solid waste fund, and so forth) the county predicts there to be $34,003,162 in revenues for 2020, a decrease if 0.63 percent from the 2019 budget.

There is an expected $38,462,471 in expenditures expected for the other funds for 2020, which is a 3.74 percent decrease from 2019.

For 2021, predicted revenues are $34,120,374 for the other funds, with $35,354,371 expected in expenditures.

At the end of 2019, the county also estimated to have $5,702,051 in principle outstanding debt, as of Dec. 31, which is a combination of $3,637,861 in general obligation bonds and $2,064,190 in contractual borrowing.

The two years still will be operated on separate budgets, but they are compiled at the same time.

“This biennial budget is not a 24-month budget. It’s two 12 month budgets and that the appropriations that are approved for 2020 expire at the end of 2020 on Dec. 31,” Mark McCauley, central services director said Monday.

“They do not carry over. Nor can appropriation, expenditure authority from 2021 advance into 2020.

“They’re two separate, distinct budget periods compromising a biennium, which preserves accountability and gives the board more control over the expenditure of those funds.”

There will be a mid-biennium review of the budget in one year, and modifications for the 2021 budget would be adjusted at that time if needed, Morley said.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]

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