It was revealed that the net general fund for 2018 is currently in the red $2.355 million. This is a drastic increase over 2017 when the county’s final net total general fund was in the red $1.6 million.
County Commissioner and chair Bruce Adams was the only current commissioner and commissioner-elect to be at the meeting. Adams was joined by Clerk/Auditor John David Nielson and County Administrator Kelly Pehrson at the public hearing.
Nielson went through an overview of the preliminary budget which will become official when the county adopts the final budget on Dec. 18 at their next county commission meeting.
The preliminary budget is formulated by sending out a budget packet to the county department heads. After the department heads send in their budget requests, a meeting is held with the commissioners to go over their budget requests in detail.
During this meeting, the department budgets are firmed up and a preliminary budget is created.
A public meeting is held for the commissioners and clerk to consider recommendations or answer individual questions about county expenditures or income. After the public meeting is held, a final budget is approved prior to the new year.
“So far, we have the requested budget revenue of about 12 and a half million for next year with expenditures being $12.8 million,” Nielson said. “That puts the operating general budget over-expended by about $340,000 (for 2019).”
In 2018 the county budgeted for a total revenue of $13.46 million, but to date have received only $8.013 million in total revenue, according to the preliminary budget worksheet.
The total expenditures for the county to date for 2018 stands at $10.36 million, for a total operating cost of negative $2.35 million.
The total expenditures for the general operating fund in the 2019 preliminary budget is $12.82 million, which is $641,514 less than the $13,468,671 budgeted expenditures for 2018.
County landfills have operated in the black this year with $166,526 of incoming profit for the county. Rate increases took effect throughout the county last month, and the projected total operating cost for the landfill in 2019 is positive $404,949, with a total projected expenditure of $344,201 and a projected revenue of $749,150. The projected revenue is a nearly a $300,000 increase from 2018.
“The landfill is looking good. The anticipated revenue is $749,000 with the expenses being $344,000, operating in the black at $404,000,” Nielson said. “Landfill rates were reviewed last year, and rates were increased to bring them more in line with operating costs.”
“We’re mandated by law to close cells in the landfill at the appropriate time, and we have one of the cells that has reached the point where we need to close it,” Adams said. “Those fees were in anticipation of closing those cells.”
County Landfill Manager Randy Rarick was on hand to discuss some of the changes that have taken place within the county’s landfill operations.
“The fee increase that was implemented Nov. 1 will carry through until next year,” Rarick said. “And with the anticipated volume that we are seeing...that will be for equipment upgrades and that sort of thing.”
Transient room tax (TRT) revenue continued with strong gains for the county with an estimated $1.2 million for the 2019 budget. In 2018, the county estimated there would be just over $1 million in the budget for TRT revenue. The actual amount collected to date for 2018 stands at $1.1 million.
In 2017, the county collected $1.47 million in TRT revenue. In 2016 the county collected $967,000 and $800,000 in 2015.
A copy of the complete 2019 San Juan County preliminary budget is available at sjrnews.com.