The Delaware County Board of Commissioners on Monday approved its budget for 2021. The $119,285,957 figure approved is a 5.3% reduction from operating and capital expenditures budgeted for in 2020. The budget for operating expenses alone increased 1.2%.
“Obviously, 2021 is going to be a very different year for us and that has required a different approach to our budgeting,” said Commissioner Jeff Benton, president of this year’s board. “We asked our office holders and directors to find reductions that would enable us to still make progress with the strategic initiatives we had already begun, while keeping operating expenses as close to flat as possible. They have come through with those reductions and we feel this budget will position us to rebound quickly when conditions normalize.”
Among the factors impacting the 2021 budget were:
• A $624,141 or 3.6% increase in healthcare costs for employees.
• Resumption of work on the Byxbe Campus, a one-stop facility at the site of the Delaware Area Career Center’s former north campus for the county’s engineering and development offices, as well as administrative headquarters for the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office.
• Completion of work on the renovation of The Historic Courthouse, which will become home to the county commissioners, their staff, and the Delaware County Veterans Service Commission.
“COVID-19 made this year’s budget preparation quite challenging, but with the cooperation of all our county officeholders, I am pleased that we were able to maintain all essential services at their current levels of excellence,” said Commissioner Barb Lewis.
Added Commissioner Gary Merrell: “The unique thing about Delaware County is the spirit of ‘we are all in this together.’ And, because the commissioners and elected officials work well together, we have produced a conservative budget that still keeps our great county moving forward to the ultimate benefit of our taxpayers/county residents. There is a recognition that COVID issues could still affect us in 2021. This budget allows us the flexibility to address any unexpected issue.”
Submitted by Delaware County.