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Bonneville County commissioners approve new budget

Bonneville County commissioners have approved next year’s budget without requiring significant hikes in taxes.

They also plan on raising government employee’s salaries by two percent.

Commissioners will use a surplus in funding to pay for that employee cost-of-living adjustment.

When it comes to spreadsheets, the 2013 budget looks nearly identical to 2012.

The county levied $22,454,171 in 20-11. The amount they are levying this year will stay the same.

The overall budget for the year 2012-2013 is more than $61 million, that’s within $25,000 of last year’s overall budget.

“We’re actually collecting about a quarter of a million dollars less in this year’s budget in property taxes than we did four years ago,” said commissioner Roger Christensen.

So, how are they able to increase staff salaries without levying a whole lot more in taxes?

Christensen said it took a little compromise from other elected officials and departments to make it work.

“People realize that these are tough times and they don’t want to see a tax increase. We kind of gave them the instruction that if they could find savings in other parts of their budget then we would go ahead with the cost-of-living increase,” said Christensen.

Bonneville County employees only saw a one percent salary increase last year and before that — nothing.

Christensen said they deserve it and other people in the county must agree, because no one showed up to weigh in Tuesday.

“Our whole budget meeting from the explanation to the close took about seven minutes, because we didn’t have any members of the public here,” said Christensen.

Commissioners also noted the part technology has played in eliminating county expenses and they will continue to invest in that.

Although property tax dollars are not going up, the levy rate is this year. That’s because market value of county properties has gone down.

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