Commissioners approve county budget

The Bingham County Commissioners approved the the 2014 county budget Tuesday morning.
"It's pretty good news," said County Clerk Sara Staub. "The economy continues to get better which will make a difference to taxpayers.
"Property owners will see a savings of $25.16 per $100,000 net taxable value (after the homeowners' exemption is applied)," she said.
The budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 has increased by 4 percent, Staub said. The increase is $1,103,232 over FY 2013.
"The county is projecting property tax revenue to increase by $294,153," she said. "The values have gone up considerably because of urban renewal.
"We have a good BURA (Blackfoot Urban Renewal Project) program," said Commissioner Whitney Manwaring.
The Parkway Urban Renewal Project in Blackfoot closed earlier this summer. Walmart, Cal Ranch and Tommy Vaughn's restaurant are located in this project.
Over 20 years, BURA invested $5 million in the Parkway Project, said Manwaring. From a $5 million investment, property values have increased to $21 million to the taxing districts.
"The value comes back to the county on the tax rolls," he said.
In addition, approximately $105,000 was distributed to the taxing districts when the Parkway Project closed, said Commissioner Mark Bair.
The urban renewal project in Shelley is scheduled to close soon, said Staub. Taxing districts will share $3 million after the Shelley urban renewal projects are completed.
"It's a good year with good news," said Staub. "Department heads have held the line on what is normally budgeted."
Commission Chairman Ladd Carter said county employees will receive a 2 percent increase in their salaries this year. Employees received a 2 percent increase in their salaries last year as well.
Medical insurance has increased $1,400 per employee per year, he said. PERSI (retirement) has also increased.
The county will continue to pay 25 percent of medical coverage costs for the dependents of county employees, he said.
"We have good people and we'd like people to stay here," said Carter.
Each year the commissioners, Staub and department heads begin working on each fiscal year's budget in May for approval at the end of August.