Flat county budget should mean no real estate tax hike

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

Franklin County officials are hoping to hold the line on property taxes again in 2010.

The Franklin County Commissioners were presented with county departments’ operational budgets for 2011 Tuesday. The budgets presented focused on essential and critical services, efficiency initiatives and customer service, according to a news release issued by the county. It added that the outlook should allow a second straight year of no tax hike.  

Most division leaders proposed department budgets at the same levels as 2010. The release said this will be accomplished by managers utilizing technology to streamline operations and improve processes. According to the release, employees have been asked to hold the line on expenses and increase productivity to get the job done while maintaining a flat budget.

Human Service agencies requested additional funding for Drug and Alcohol prevention, to support senior services, and increase housing opportunities for mental health consumers in the community and in the forensic system.

An E-government project was proposed by the Information System Department. The project is intended to help the general public to access county services and forms online. The release said this proposed project will also make departments more efficient when dealing with one another, as the e-forms will have a work flow process to expedite the flow of information between the various offices that need to work on a document.  The electronic forms will preclude having to print and re-scan documents, saving resources and time, said the release.

A new initiative was proposed by county administrator to place all approved capital expenditures and personnel expansion into contingency accounts. According to the release, this process will allow expenditures to be reviewed when presented and measured as a necessary expenditure. This cost control method will give county managers an extra step to ensure the expenditure is appropriate and timely, the release said. The control can also re-verify the cost as pricing can change and the county may be able to save money.

Commissioner Chairman David Keller commended the division leaders for holding the line on expenses while requesting expenditures that will improve operational efficiency and quality of services. He noted that based on the presentations, the county is well positioned to avoid an increase in general fund millage for the second year in a row.