On Wednesday, the Summit County council got an introduction to their 2019 budget. They will get into the weeds of the spending plan over the next month and a half.
During the visit to KPCW by council member Doug Clyde, we asked him if he had any first-blush reaction to the budget. He noted, though, that it’s a big plan.
“192 pages of 8-point font so I’m not sure that I’ve got a blush yet. The budget process of course is extremely detailed very complicated. We are having some general increases. There are some more full-time employees that are planned especially I believe in health and in public safety. Those are two significant concern areas that are in increasing demand on our services. Generally, you know of course, we try and hold the line, but we also have an issue of just trying to be competitive. So, there is a cost of living increase quota in there as well. Total budget is up about $1.5 million I believe roughly in a $52 million budget, again rough terms.”
The county’s funding includes the revenues they’re receiving from two sales tax increases for transit. Overall, though, he said revenues have been up and down.
“Some areas we’re having slight increases. Of course, we have more revenues in transit than we have in the past due to the taxes that we’ve passed in recent years. So that’s positive. We’re going to be able to maintain if not improve our bus systems. We’re very concentrated on trying to improve bus systems into town and trying to reduce traffic onto 224. That’s part of our park and ride program that we’ve got going on out on Kilby Road. The other revenues that we’re losing some of the tax revenue from residential properties is going down a little bit. That is to some degree just a function of people being more aggressive at appealing their tax rate and we of course have to follow the law there.”
The budget introduction was relatively quick.
Another topic, though, led to a lot of discussion as the council approved a set of agreements establishing a new site, off the Silver Summit Interchange of Highway 40, for the Children’s Justice Center. Clyde said it took a while to iron out the legal details.
“A very complicated contract that we got into great detail with but at the end of the day it was all resolved and passed.”
As part of the deal, the county will give a grant of $250,000 to the Friends of the Summit County Children’s Justice Center. The Friends are paying nearly $1.8 million for the Highway 40 location.
In addition, the county will pay a minimal lease to the Friends for the facility. Also, in a different rental agreement, the county pays some $8,500 annually to rent storage space.
“The lease is simply in that new building that they’re purchasing, they happen to have a large storage facility its not heated or air-conditioned space, but it is a storage facility. The Sheriff’s Department has a lot of items that they’re looking for storage for. These are not dangerous items, they’re not drugs they’re not weapons or anything of that nature just miscellaneous property. They will be leasing that storage space from them and that will help fund the cost of the Children’s Justice Center.”