Revenue not enough to cover 2009 budget requests from Haakon County offices

Each year the Haakon County Board of Commissioners tackles the annual budget, generally facing the issue of more expenses then revenue, with the 2009 budget being no exception.

The board met Monday, September 8, for their third special budget meeting. Projected revenue for the general fund sits at $1,059,613 with projected expenses at $953,224, just over $100,000 to the good. The highway department, which has always has had the largest share of the county's budget, is where the deficient appears. Their projected income in $661,792 with expenses of $1,053,358, a deficient of over $350,000. Using the left over income from the general fund still leaves the highway department with an overrun of approximately $280,000.

During the discussion for each department, the board was able to work the deficient down to $198,000. Haakon County Auditor Patricia Freeman noted the county is not in bad shape financially as it would appear. "All counties are having trouble, but Haakon County is not having as much trouble as many counties are," she said.

The commissioners were able to chip some of the spending down so the deficit was just under $200,000. Many of the requests were approved as submitted. The sheriff's department request for a new vehicle in the amount of $22,000 was approved. But the request for $4,000 for switching the radio system from the old vehicle to the new vehicle was dropped by $3,000. The request for two new laptop computers was also declined. The register of deeds' request for a new computer program and scanner in the amount of $22,000 was declined. The board asked the department to look into more programs before purchasing one, to see if a less expensive program was available.

The board of commissioners will meet Thursday, August 11, 2008, to finalize the budget. The discussion will revolve around paring down the remaining deficient and pay raises for county employees.