Lyon makes it through tough budget process
Appeal Staff Writer
YERINGTON – With the chairwoman calling this year’s budget a real challenge, Lyon County commissioners voted to approved it with no tax increases and no layoffs.
Josh Foli said the only increase would be a 1 percent utility fee increase instead of a .5 percent increase approved last year.
The fees would be paid by the utilities, but would likely be passed on to the utility’s customers.
He also said there was some savings in the workers compensation rates, which were lower than anticipated.
Chairwoman Phyllis Hunewill praised the county staff for cutting their budgets without eliminating services.
“This was a real challenge,” she said. “Everyone stepped up; the department heads cut their budgets to the bare bones. We’ve done the best we can without having to cut services.”
Bob Hadfield, interim county manager, said it was difficult to come up with a balanced budget and praised the staff for keeping budgets in line in the face of falling revenue.
“It required cooperation from all department heads and employees,” he said.
The commissioners held budget hearings in March and balanced the budget through elimination of vacant positions and cutting spending on overtime and supplies.
The county’s budget was short about $1.75 million when the hearings for the tentative budget began, partly because of the building slowdown but also because of an expected decrease in Lyon County’s share of consolidated taxes from the state.
Cost-of-living adjustments in salary and merit-pay increases were places where cuts were considered, but since they are subject to labor negotiations, no such cuts were made, Foli said.
Commissioners also approved a two-year contract with the Lyon County Employee Association, which represents general county employees. County staff indicated the agreement is in line with the budget.
The contract calls for 2.5 percent salary increases for the next fiscal year, and 2 percent for fiscal year 2008-09. Employees will receive a 1 percent lump-sum bonus on their current salaries if the ending-fund balance comes in at $150,000 higher than budgeted.
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