Franklin County won’t be adding as many new positions in its 2015 budget as previously proposed.
The initial budget did not take into account negotiated compensation increases in the sheriff’s office that went into effect earlier this year, said Commissioner Brad Peck.
As a result, the county had to remove from the budget one sheriff’s deputy and a corrections officer in the jail.
The new jail still will get two new corrections officers and one-and-a-half positions in the sheriff’s office if commissioners approve the budget.
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Commissioners at a Monday budget workshop also decided to create two new positions in the human resources department, including an HR coordinator and an office assistant. That was one less position than had been requested.
One new position also is to be created each in the assessor, treasurer and information services departments.
That would mean a total of 8.5 new positions next year.
A public hearing is planned on the estimated $26 million budget at the commission’s 9 a.m. meeting Dec. 10. A vote is possible after that, though it could happen Dec. 17.
The county is adding back some of the positions it cut in 2010, when a poor economy led commissioners to reduce the budget and staff by about 10 percent.
“We decided that we would do our best to reinstate some of the positions, if and when, the county’s financial health improved,” Peck said.
The county has held the line on spending and built up a 7-percent reserve fund last year, in case of a financial problem. Peck said that allows it to pay for some new positions next year.
“We’re doing this only in the areas where turnover and staffing shortages have shown that we cut too deeply in 2010,” Peck said.
The cuts helped bring the county closer to a state-mandated balanced budget. Also helping is an estimated $50,000 increase in sales tax revenue in 2015.
The county is projecting $3.38 million to come in from sales taxes this year, up from $3.27 budgeted for the year. But staff warned that sales tax revenue has slowed since peaking this summer.
Construction work, such as the federally funded taxiway project at the Tri-Cities Airport, could be one reason for increased sales tax money this year, Peck said.
“You can have some atypical large projects that can spike your sales,” he said.
Commissioners reluctantly agreed to budget for the revenue increase.
“It’s OK as long as the economy keeps going,” Commissioner Rick Miller said. “I just remember 2009 — that’s all I have to say.”