JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Teton County Commissioners yesterday adopted the Fiscal Year 2020 budget less than a week before it is scheduled to go into effect on July 1. The process was in fact so toilsome it prompted county clerk Sherry Daigle to declare it was the longest budget hearing procedure she’s been through in 20 years as the acting budget officer.
The approved general fund budget for FY2020 of $44,922,731 represents a 4% increase over the previous year, much of that bump allocated to an increase in employee salary and benefits of approximately $1.4 million.
When special revenue funds are factored in, the overall county budget is $108,173,630. That number includes voter-approved Specific Purpose Tax projects in the amount of $25,172,831 for FY2020.
Teton County has enjoyed the luxury of robust sales tax revenue—up again over projections. Property tax revenue, as many are all too aware, also helped fill the county’s coffers with $11.4M rolling in compared to $9.6M in FY2019. These taxes, as well as the specific purpose excise tax (SPET) currently being deliberated, have helped shield Teton from a statewide economic downturn linked to a sketchy energy market.
Sales tax revenue came in “much more healthy” than anticipated, according to Daigle. Sales tax collections some $2,750,000 ahead of projections helped push a reversion figure (unappropriated carryover from a previous budget year) to around $2.4M—an amount commissioners will decide how they want to spend at a workshop next month. There was some talk of spending $2M of that on courthouse renovation planning as a few electeds perceived it might be a tough sell on a SPET ballot.
The county treasurer is projecting about $19,150,562 in sales tax revenue for the coming fiscal year July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.
Overall mill levy was kept steady at 8.404 but property taxes soared for many. The jump is due to a change in valuation methods per a continued order from the Wyoming Department of Revenue, State Board of Equalization. In short, it requires an effective age study and depreciation adjustment for all commercial properties, and removal of all attributes associated with residential properties, whether improved or vacant.
Teton County remains one of the only counties in the state that does not assess the full 12 mills allowable by statute.
In a climate of belt-tightening, the new budget represents increases across the board in Administration (+35.3%), Community Development (+17.4%), Health & Human Services (+11%), Justice (+5.6%), Infrastructure, +(8.1%), Public Safety (+22.7%), and Special Projects (+19.2%).
The board of county commissioners approved the FY2020 budget with two late-stage amendments to be ratified at a meeting August 6. An additional $124,000 allocated to START for expanded summer service was one consideration. The second amendment was to fund a salaried drug treatment coordinator position at 20 hours a week with an additional $20,000 for drug treatment court.
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