The Delaware County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the 2016 appropriations budget on Monday, Dec. 21.
“I’m excited about supporting this budget, because it’s an appropriate budget for our county, and it reflects the needs of our county very well,” Commissioner Gary Merrell said.
The general fund appropriations request is $97.6 million, which is a 2 percent increase from 2015. There is also a three percent increase from last year for non-union employees that was highlighted before the vote.
“The increase overall in the general spending is about 2 percent; salaries are up a little over 1 percent (from 2015), which given the growth that’s going on, I think is pretty reasonable,” Commissioner Jeff Benton said. “I think we’re in good shape going forward.”
Of the $97.6 million, $27 million is allocated for road and bridge projects.
The commissioners thanked all of those involved in the discussion that preceded the vote, which included Seiji (Si) Kille, the Assistant County Commissioner and Fiscal Services Director, as well as elected officials and department heads.
“This happens because Si and others have taken the time to put all of the pieces together,” Merrell said. “We take this very seriously and we want to do this job correctly, and I know Si does, as does the County Administrator Tim Hansley and Assistant County Administrator Dawn Huston. It’s possible, because of the involvement of all of the people in the county working together to get us where we are.”
Benton, appointed this year, discussed the “fiscal restraint” and “fiscal awareness” by everybody during the process.
“As the new guy, I was really pleased to see the fiscal restraint – the fiscal awareness that virtually everybody exhibited in the budget review process,” he said. “I think that the elected officials, the department and certainly Si and Tim really understand that we have to be prudent, we have to be careful with the taxpayer dollars. Again, I was pleased to see that we really take it seriously.”
The Commissioners also voted to cancel the session scheduled for Dec. 24 and will next meet Dec. 28.