FARMINGTON —  The Franklin County budget panel voted Wednesday to hold an initial vote on a total proposed $7 million budget next Wednesday and set a public hearing on the spending plan on June 2.

The initial vote will be held at 5:30 p.m. and public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. at the county courthouse.

Of the $7 million proposal for 2021-22, $4.7 million is for the county government side, including commissioners, deeds, probate, district attorney, communications and sheriff’s budgets, and $2.3 million is for the jail.

The budget represents a $155,268 increase over the $4.54 million for 2020-21. If it stays as proposed, an anticipated $541,000 in revenue would be used to offset it. That does not include $140,000 that may be used from the undesignated fund to lower the tax assessment. The fiscal year ends June 30. The new budget will kick in July 1, the start of the fiscal year.

Department heads went over the highlights in each of their budgets and answered questions for the Budget Advisory Committee.

The proposed jail spending is $52,919 more than the current budget, which is $2.25 million. Of the amount $10,000 is included in case a corrections officer who has experience is hired and the county needs to buy out the agency the person works for. There is also money in the budget to cover pay raises that may come about through ongoing negotiations with corrections officers, and $10,000 for a joint parking lot project to improve drainage problems, jail administrator, Major Doug Blauvelt said.

The communications and sheriff’s budgets also include $10,000 in each for the parking lot.

Chief Deputy Steven Lowell told the committee that they tried to do a flat budget but there were some areas that money had to be added in. The proposed nearly $1.86 million budget is $14,657  more than this fiscal year. He said they put back the cruiser request to $120,000, which was cut last year to $105,000. Cruisers are getting more expensive, he said.  Replacement tires are also getting more expensive, he added. They tried to make cuts to offset the increases.

The commissioners’ budget proposal of $210,654 reflects an increase of $71,477. It includes a new position to take care of human resources and administrative assistant duties. It is proposed at $38,870. There is also $15,000 for wage adjustments because a new pay scale was implemented four years ago and salaries and wages need to be reviewed and adjusted, county Clerk Julie Magoon said. There is also a 3% cost-of-living raise for nonunion employees factored in but that does not mean commissioners will vote to approve that amount.

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