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  • Writer's pictureErin B.

Kootenai County BOCC: FY24 is ‘Year of Personnel,’ Approving $141M Budget

The Kootenai County Commissioners worked through the FY24 budget for the final time at Wednesday evening's public hearing before ultimately approving the $141 million allowance for the next fiscal year.

There is a lot of moving parts within the budget but here's the presentation highlights:

  • There is an emphasis on personnel this budget season with an increase of approximately $6.5 million for new hires, COLAs, and pay raises.

  • Employees are receiving 4.5% cost of living adjustments (COLAs) and adjustments to the step (pay raise) matrix.

  • Sheriff patrol and command staff get a new 5-year pay matrix to better compete with city law enforcement organizations.

  • There are 96 open positions within the county but 57 of those have been open over 100 days so they had their funding cut back to 50%. That is a lot of open positions but if someone would like to see what positions are available go online here:

  • The county has kept their operating expenses to within 0.16% of last year's opex.

  • The county is planning for large expenses in FY24 for the Justice Center Expansion and the completion of new jail pods but a majority of funds will be coming from ARPA and Fund Balance. These expenses, and any grants, will be treated individually when they come in as a budget amendment so they will be voted upon during a regular business meeting.

  • There is a huge increase in Solid Waste Capital Expenses but they have received new hauling contracts and are ramping up to begin those contracts.

  • The Public Defender's office will be moving to a state-funded division although they will still be working out of the county office (similar to the DMV).There will be county personnel savings after this transition but because this year is the conversion to the state funding they're still trying to work out all the logistics with that move.

  • Property taxes are to cover 42% of the total budget.

  • State funds are covering 43% of the total budget including sales taxes from the state, revenue sharing from the state, liquor apportionment from the liquor board, fees for services we provide, and interest earned from bank accounts.

  • Elected officials are getting a big fat raise.

The commissioners also heard presentations for the Aquifer Protection District and Kootenai County Emergency Medical Services System as they have separate budgets. There were no questions or discussion past hearing the presentations so I will link the screenshots of the presentations below.

The commissioners had statements before voting on the budget; the budget was approved in a 2-1 vote with Leslie Duncan being the dissenting vote. She gives her reasons, as noted in the video below, but Bruce Mattare's comments about the electeds should put their money where their mouth is and not take the raise is the best part of the entire hearing.

The budget was approved in the end and will be officially adopted at Friday's 10am meeting.

If you are a numbers nerd like myself below is the full FY24 summary for the hearing notice, as well as the levy rate worksheet.

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