Delaware County Commissioners have approved a $100.6 million budget for 2018 that reflects a 2.33 percent increase over the 2017 budget.
Deputy County Administrator Seiji Kille presented and recommended the 2018 budget to the commissioners.
“I would like to point out that in this request we’ve recommended a 3 percent increase for all non-union employees,” he said. “The general fund request of $100.6 million is a 2.33 percent increase from the current year.”
Commissioner Jeff Benton said he thought the budget was a “fiscally conservative budget.”
“One important principle is when times are good you don’t go crazy increasing your spending base,” he said. “I think this accomplishes that; we’re in good times. There is a relatively modest increase of 2 percent in overall spending. If you can maintain restraints in good times and when the downturns come, it’s a whole lot easier to manage the downturn.”
Benton said overall the county’s spending is actually down because “we’re not building another courthouse.” He said that Job and Family Services has reduced staff due a decrease in workloads and that other departments have done the same.
“The county has tightened up on job vacancies,” Benton added.
Commissioner Gary Merrell said a lot of time was spent on the new budget by department directors and elected officials alike. He praised Kille and his department for the amount of time, effort, and his skill in making the 2018 budget work.
“Seiji is the one that ties all the loose ends together and makes this possible,” Merrell said. “I think it’s a workable budget and I do encourage everyone to be aware we had to make some serious cuts. It’s going to take some understanding and support from all of us to make it work.”
However, Merrell went on to say the old courthouse remodel was not in the coming year’s budget.
“Hopefully everybody understands that and if everybody works together we’ll have another successful year,” he said.
Benton said the budget does not include the funding for the purchase of new voting equipment, either.
“It’s a big-ticket item,” Benton said. “It is a major issue to be addressed in the next year or two.”
Benton said there is a conversation happening at the Statehouse regarding funding either all or some of the cost of the equipment, but he didn’t know when the announcement would come.
Commissioner Barb Lewis said the budget is fiscally sound and she was glad to vote to approve it.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.