Summary of Monroe County Government 2012 General Fund Budget

Thought I would do a brief wrap-up on the Monroe County 2012 General Fund Budget, as passed by the Monroe County Council. In a future post, I will put this budget in a broader context — where it fits into a broader effort to bring the budget into a more sustainable situation.

Budget Spreadsheet

The working spreadsheet that the Council used can be found here: Monroe County Government 2012 General Fund Budget. Please note that this is not an official budget document; I will post a PDF from the County’s financial system as soon as it is available — but the working spreadsheet that the Council used is a lot easier to work with.

Overview of the 2012 General Fund Budget

First, some preliminaries:

  • The General Fund appropriated budget total for 2012 is $29,373.802.49
  • This represents a $90,686 reduction from the 2011 General Fund budget, which was for $29,464,489
  • Budgeted revenue for 2012 is $26,561,695
  • This represents a budgeted deficit of $2,812,107. Yes, you read correctly — the County is budgeting for a deficit of $2.8M in 2012. Now, admittedly the budgeted revenue number is probably slightly on the conservative side (there are a few small revenue sources that vary greatly from year to year that have not been included, for example).  And fortunately we have enough in reserves to support this kind of deficit budget this year — but the Council has some very serious issues to contend with over the next couple of years. My next posting on the budget will outline what I believe our budget needs to look like in 2013, 2014, and 2015 in order to come into balance by 2015 and not deplete all available reserves.

2012 General Fund Budget by Department

The following table breaks out the 2012 General Fund budget by department:

Dept # Dept Name 2012 Appropriated
001 Clerk $1,633,337.08
010 Voter Registration $113,111.93
062 Election Board $375,692.00
002 Auditor $550,721.55
003 Treasurer $384,035.12
004 Recorder $124,069.10
005 Sheriff $3,863,519.42
626 Animal Control $335,763.44
006 Surveyor $76,139.91
007 Coroner $188,477.02
008 Assessor $697,764.70
024 Reassessment $634,000.00
009 Prosecutor $1,473,274.75
270 Child Support $956,042.59
011 Extension Services $218,054.55
012 Comm/Veteran Affairs $66,432.21
061 County Council $329,639.08
067 Human Resources $107,563.06
068 Commissioners $2,653,364.43
069 Fleet $61,800.00
161 County Buildings $1,454,689.05
079 Planning $525,486.53
106 Tech Services $415,990.61
225 Unified Courts $4,845,529.82
271 Public Defender $1,060,926.83
277 Comm/Legal $431,946.63
308 Weights & Measures $57,896.06
312 Building Commission $581,698.93
361 Emergency Management $133,866.89
380 Correctional Center $4,267,355.52
803 Parks & Recreation $755,613.68
TOTAL $29,373,802.49

Major Changes in the Budget 

The following were some of the changes in the General Fund budget from 2011-2012.  This list is not comprehensive, but includes the changes that I thought were particularly significant. Your mileage may vary.

  • Unfortunately we were not able to provide a cost of living pay increase to County employees (despite a real increase in the cost of living over the past year of almost 2%). Some employees still received raises, if they reached any of steps defined in the Monroe County Compensation Policy.
  • The overall fringe rate for full-time employees (which includes health and life insurance, FICA, PERF, and unemployment insurance) increased from 41.5% to 42.4%. This change included a mandatory increase of 1.25% in PERF (Public Employees Retirement Fund), which the council decided to pick up (as opposed to passing on to employees). So while employees did not receive any increase in take-home pay, they did receive an additional 1.25% of their salaries paid into their retirement accounts.
  • The total of the Clerk’s 3 budgets (Clerk, Voter Registration, and Election Board) showed an increase of around $61,800 — however, because 2012 is a presidential election year (which is always significantly higher than in a municipal-only election year, like 2011), this actually represents a significant structural decrease in the Clerk’s budget, achieved through some restructuring and several positions eliminated through attrition. Note that this budget reflects (accurately, as it later turned out) a traditional precinct-based voting system. If Monroe County had approved vote centers for 2012, this budget would go down by over $75,000.
  • The Auditor’s budget decreased by around $110K, both through elimination of two positions through attrition (one will continue to be funded through an interlocal agreement with the Solid Waste Management District), and by moving all supplies and contractual expenses to the Auditor’s Ineligible Deductions Fund (a fund that receives revenue from fines levied on property owners who illegally claim homestead deductions on multiple properties).
  • The Sheriff’s salary was increased from $113,082 to $125,647, per changes in state law. The Sheriff’s Department pension fund appropriation was increased from $215,295 to $328,460, an actuarial change that was mandated by the contract with the Sheriff’s Merit Deputies.
  • In the Surveyor’s Department, 25% of the Surveyor’s salary ($10,480) was moved from the General Fund to the new Stormwater Management budget, to reflect the amount of time that the Surveyor spends on stormwater management-related activities.
  • The Coroner received a raise, from $20,363 to $27,363, to reflect the fact that the Coroner position is becoming closer to a full-time position, based on workload.
  • In the Assessor’s Office, the Reassessment Budget dropped from $767,850 to $634,000, based on some savings that Assessor Judy Sharp identified in the budget.  This budget will disappear entirely from the 2013 budget, as future reassessments are being budgeted in a different fund.
  • In the Prosecutor’s budget, 1.5 positions (a legal secretary and 1/2 of a senior legal secretary) were moved out of the Pre-Trial Diversion Program budget (supported by pretrial diversion fees) into the General Fund (increasing the sustainability of the Pretrial Diversion Program fund). The Prosecutor also requested that the Sex Crimes Deputy Prosecutor position be moved into the General Fund from a grant fund after the grant ran out. Although many councilors (myself included) expressed support for the position, we could not find a way to pay for it. In addition, $10K was added for extradition to replace funding that used to come from court-ordered reimbursements from defendants who committed crimes and fled the jurisdiction to avoid trail. The Prosecutor’s Office and the Clerk are currently working to try to understand why this revenue has dried up. But in the meantime, the funding still needs to be available to extradite accused felons back to Monroe County to face trial.
  • In the County Council budget, the Council’s membership in the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), in the amount of $5250 was eliminated.
  • In the Commissioners budget, there were several changes. The classification of the Commissioners’ Administrator position was reduced, lowering the salary from $72,196 to $52,416. Liability insurance/workman’s compensation insurance  increased around $50K. The appropriation for Centerstone for mental health increased from $566,850 to $577,115, due to a change in the state-mandated rate. Note that this Centerstone appropriation, along with the Stonebelt and Options for Better Living appropriations, come out of a separate tax levy for mental health and mental disabilities, and so these three appropriations could not be spent on anything else. Area 10 Rural Transit subsidy was increased from $25K to $30K.  And temporary space was decreased from $35K to $21K, with further reductions possible as departments are moved from rented space into the Showers Complex.
  • In the County Buildings department, courthouse utilities was reduced by $35K, primarily because the Courthouse will be uninhabited much of the year during the rehabilitation.
  • In Planning, consultant fees were dropped from $16K to 0, and professional fees and training were reduced by $2K.  These expenses were reduced in order to save a vacant Planner I position, which the Council originally eliminated, but restored when the position was able to be funded through cuts in other areas.
  • In Technical Services, $100K of software maintenance was moved to the Cable Franchise Fees fund, and a Support Technical position was moved from General to the Cumulative Capital Development fund (and another Technical Services position already in the Cumulative Capital Development fund that was vacant was eliminated).
  • In the Public Defender’s office, Special Services was increased from $25,831 to $45,000, more realistically reflecting the actual costs of special services, such as depositions, DNA testing, and expert witnesses in trials.
  • In Animal Control, the Animal Shelter Interlocal Agreement with the City of Bloomington (which funds the use of the Animal Shelter by County residents) was funded at the same level as for 2011 ($327,342). However, this amount is just a placeholder, as we know that the costs of the interlocal will be greater than the 2011 amount.  This interlocal agreement also deserves its own posting.
Those were the highlights in the general fund. In the next posting about the budget, I’ll discuss how this budget fits in with an overall plan to achieve budget sustainability (hint: still a long way to go). If there are other changes in the budget that you are curious about that I didn’t describe (or would like to take us to task for a particular change!), please post a comment to this article, and I’ll be glad to respond.

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