Monday, February 25 2013, 01:57 PM CST
Running on reserves: Jackson County deals with less revenue, higher costs
By Ginger Shepherd/KTVL.com
MEDFORD, Ore. -- The next budget cycle for Jackson County officials won't be an easy one as departments work with less money and increased costs.
Jackson County Administrator Danny Jordan said the county's source of revenue, property tax, has gone down.
In the current fiscal year, property tax brought $31,617,127 to the county coffers. For the upcoming fiscal year, fiscal year 2013-14, the county anticipates property taxes to bring in $31,583,350.
"It's lost revenue," he said.
Property tax isn't the only revenue source going down. Jordan says the county will continue to see a reduction in O&C funds, which come from the federal government. He is also anticipating decreases in state money as well.
The county will have about $36 million of revenues for its general fund in fiscal year 2013-14. That is about $159,351 less than it had for the current fiscal year.
Revenues are just one part of the issue. Jordan said the county's operating cost have increased about 7.2 percent.
In fiscal year 2013-14, Jordan's budget estimates the county will have $42,480,754 in operating expenses.
To address the deficit between operating costs and revenues, the county will use about $6,011,300 from its rainy day funds.
Even with the rainy day funds, each department except one will receive less money from the county's general fund. It will be up to each department head how to meet their new budget target, Jordan said.
For the current fiscal year, fiscal year 2012-13, the assessor's office has a $3.7 million budget. However, Jordan plans to give the office $20,000 less from the general fund. He said the department will also make a $783,180 adjustment for the next budget year, meaning the department's 2013-14 budget will be about $2.9 million.
Jordan said the adjustment is related to a software purchase and upgrade that was completed this fiscal year.
The community justice department will go from a $5.5 million budget in 2012-13 to $4.48 million in fiscal year 2013-14.
Jordan identified only one department that will see an increase: the sheriff's office. The sheriff will see a $1 million increase in his budget. The move was made to help stave off more cuts in the department.
The Jackson County Sheriff's office has already announced 66 cut to clerks, correction officers and patrol deputies. That number could be reduced pending a Feb. 28 arbitration ruling.
Already facing budget reductions, department heads have another issue to battle: An increased payment to the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System.
Jordan said the county had anticipated its payment to the retirement system going down in the next fiscal year because of improvements in the stock market.
Generally, when the market improves and shows gains, the PERS cost goes down, Jordan explained.
Despite market gains and improvement, PERS payments are going up. Jordan says the PERS payment for fiscal year 2013-14 will be about $4 million.
Each department head will have to address the increased PERS cost in their budgets. For some departments, it may mean increased fees. Departments like the parks department are enterprise funds and adjust their fees to cover their costs, Jordan said.
Other departments, like the sheriff's office, may have to find other ways to reduce their budgets to meet the increase. That could mean employee layoffs.
Fiscal year 2012-13 ends on June 31; fiscal year 2013-14 will begin on July 1.