Commissioners approve county budget

BLACKFOOT – The Bingham County Commissioners approved the county budget on Monday. Commissioner Whitney Manwaring was excused from the hearing because he was out of town.
The county’s budget for fiscal year 2012 totals $27,250,412 as compared to the 2011 budget that totaled $26,416,692. The increase is $833,720.
This amount includes an increase of $199,857 for a 2 percent salary increase for full-time county employees. Elected officials did not receive a salary increase this year.
The cost of medical insurance provided to employees increased by $256,785. This is a 5 percent increase.
The balance of the budget increase of $377,078, was for general county operations.
The county will levy $9,897,858 through property taxes. This is up by $354,199 from fiscal year 2011. Property owners will see a $6.03 increase per $100,000 in property value.
“This is after the homeowner’s exemption,” Bingham County Clerk Sara Staub said. “For example, if a home is valued at $200,000, the homeowner’s exemption would be $98,000, and the homeowner would be taxed on $102,000."
Idaho law allows counties to increase the amount they levy for each year by 3 percent, plus an amount for the prior year’s new construction. For fiscal year 2012, Bingham County could have levied up to $10,001,612.
“The budget is pretty bare bones,” said Staub.
Part of the calculation for the amount that needs to be levied is based on department unexpended budget (or turn back).
“It seems each year, we cut our budgets closer,” Commissioner Chairman Cleone Jolley said. “We get closer and closer to actual cost and the turnback gets lower and lower.”
The county's fiscal year 2012 runs from Oct. 1, 2011, through Sept. 30, 2012.