There were relatively few changes from 2016-2017 to 2017-2018 budget requests from the treasurer, collector, assessor and health department when the departments met with the Commission back in late October.

The Camden County Commission is expected to pass the 2018 budget on Friday before the Christmas vacation commences.

According to an agenda sheet provided by the office, the next year’s budget approval is the only item up for discussion on December 22, 2017. The Commission, Auditor Jimmy Laughlin and select department heads have held preliminary budget discussions over the last few months with Laughlin hosting a county-wide meeting to explain the process and relay expected financial figures the first week of December.

There may be some adjustments from preliminary requests, submitted as early as September, and the final budget numbers set for approval. The Lake Sun had requested copies of preliminary budget requests, but were subsequently denied by the Auditor’s Office, citing the copies as “unaudited work documents” that have not been prepared for presentation to the Commission.

Nonetheless, on Dec. 6, Auditor Laughlin shared some financial estimates with the County budgeting $40,756,935.42 in expected revenue from seven funding sources. A total of 44-percent of that revenue is attributed to “other” which consists of Camden County’s five major funds — county revenue, road and bridge, assessment, Law Enforcement Sales Tax and E-911 for a total of $17,807,141.97.

Sales tax revenue has been budgeted at $10,020,000 and Laughlin said sales tax rates have effectively remained flat for the past decade. Property tax for 2018 was budgeted at $4,687,000 while intergovernmental revenue was set at $5,143,854 which accounts for federal and state funding sources.

Camden County expects to spend a total of $45,861,299.19 with 36-percent of that total attributed to “other public entities” which includes pass-through funds for school, fire, ambulance and special road districts as well as municipalities and Camden County’s sheltered workshop.

The next three largest expenditures include L.E.S.T. - Sheriff, Corrections, E-911, Judicial System at $10,955,315 or 24 percent, Road and Bridge at $7,252,833 or 16 percent and General Government at $9,763,018.68 or 21 percent. The remaining 3 percent of funds are distributed to the debt service fund, emergency fund and a new capital improvements fund, which received $549,848.31, $360,000 and $600,000, respectively.

A majority of the general government funds are distributed to offices that fall under the purview of the Commission, including Planning and Zoning, Health Department, Waste Water, Emergency Management and Building and Grounds.

There were relatively few changes from 2016-2017 to 2017-2018 budget requests from the treasurer, collector, assessor and health department when the departments met with the Commission back in late October.

Treasurer Elaine Gilley sought an increase for office supplies and to possibly bump some of her employees to a 40-hour work week as opposed to the current 35-hour work week. Health Department Administrator Bee Dampier listed a $7,000 increase in the form of a grant for the WIC program that provides supplemental nutrition for kids in need.

Collector Teresa Murray requested an additional $5,000 for overtime and office supplies and will also need some additional funding, between $12-15k, for the publication of property for sale that needs to be re-listed every couple of years if the properties are not sold.

Assessor Marty McGuire said there were relatively no changes from last year’s request, though he has moved around some funds for salary purposes and also canceled a cell phone contract to free up some funds.

Of note, a total of $375,143.00 was budgeted for Management Information Systems, which Laughin said accounts for all of the county’s technical equipment and not just those located within the courthouse.

The Commissioner’s Office appears to have the largest difference in budget requests from 2017 to 2018, requesting nearly $162,000 in additional funding to pay for new positions under the office, including a benefits and payroll coordinator, a part-time county prosecutor, and a purchasing secretary/prosecutor assistant. Salaries were requested to be bumped from $256,082 in 2017 to $338,660 in 2018.

In total, the Commission requested $682,964 for 2018 but received a preliminary budget total of $612,388 with a majority of the approximately $70,000 difference coming from decreasing the requested $146,000 for attorney fees to $73,000.