The 2014-15 fiscal year Deschutes County proposed budget was released Friday, and its growth reflects a return to economic growth in the area.
"After several difficult years brought on by the economic downturn and the resulting plight of the development and real estate market in Central Oregon, the FY 2015 budget proposal reflects the second year of significant improvement in regional and state economies," the county said in its announcement.
Highlights from the 2015 County Proposed Budget include:
- General fund property tax revenue is expected to increase over $1,000,000 in FY 2015 above what the County expects to realize in FY 2014. The assumption driving this is an increase in assessed value for the County of 5%.
- The proposed budget includes a net staffing increase of 1.2 FTE for the County. This includes the addition of 4.0 FTE for the expanded Jail, 2.0 FTE for Community Development due to increased development activity and .6 FTE for Juvenile. Offsetting these increases are reductions of 1.0 FTE for County Administration, .4 FTE for the Justice Court, 1.0 FTE for Juvenile, 1.2 FTE for GIS & Technology and 1.8 FTE for Public Health. The budget includes an additional increase of 1.5 FTE for County Service Districts that includes the addition of 3.0 FTE for 9-1-1, a reduction of .5 FTE for Sunriver Service District and a reduction of 1.0 FTE for Extension/4H.
- Capital projects in the proposed budget include Skyliners Road at $927,100, Powell Butte Hwy./Neff/Alfalfa intersection, $2,250,000 and La Pine storm water improvements at $200,000. Also included is the construction of cell number six at the Knott Landfill of $3,000,000.
- The two property tax levies supporting the Sheriff’s Office and the Jail are proposed at the current level with no increase in tax rates.
- Total FY 2015 Proposed Budget is $305,433,009 compared to $288,674,925 for FY 2014 for an increase of 5.8%. The FY 2015 Proposed Operating Budget is $245,763,240 compared to $228,530,026 for FY 2014 for an increase of 7.5%. Nearly $8,000,000 of that increase in the Operating Budget is due to the appropriation to allow for a potential lump sum payment to PERS from the PERS reserve to buy down future Employer PERS rates. The increase without this line item is 4%.
The Deschutes County Budget Committee (Commissioners, Bruce Barrett, Clay Higuchi and Mike Maier) convenes May 27-30; the public is welcome to attend. The public hearing and final budget deliberations are scheduled for Monday, June 23. Budget meetings, public hearing and final deliberations will be held at the Deschutes Services Center building, 1300 NW Wall St. in Bend.