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The Sanpete Messenger

Sanpete budget for 2021 comes to $16.6 million just a 2% increase

Sanpete budget for 2021 comes to $16.6 million just a 2% increase

 

By Rhett Wilkinson

Staff writer

1-27-2021

 

MANTI—Sanpete County has approved a budget of $16.6 million for 2021, up about $327,000, or 2 percent, from the 2020 budget of $16.2 million.

“The commissioners worked really hard not to do big increases, but still fulfill the needs of the county that needed to be fulfilled,” said Stacey Lyon, county auditor.

“I appreciate all the department heads and how they work as a team to treat it more as a family budget, and they do their part to make sure it is fair and equitable for everybody.”

The commissioners did their part to make sure there isn’t excessive spending, she added.

On the revenue side of the budget, the county expects to collect $8.2 million in taxes, As might be expected, taxes are the largest revenue source, accounting for almost 50 percent of county revenues.

While many local governments in Utah are forecasting declines in tax revenue this year, Sanpete County budgeted for a 2.2 percent increase, which translated to a $177,600 projected increase in tax collections, primarily property tax.

The county is also forecasting nearly $1.3 million in “intergovernmental” funds, a category that includes funds that flow to the county from federal and state government. One of the biggest items in the category is so-called Class B road funds, federal and state funds for road maintenance. Projected intergovernmental revenue is up $85,200, or 7.1 percent over the amount budgeted last year.

One revenue category, the Municipal Building Authority (MBA), went down by almost $50,000. The MBA is an administrative entity used for managing funds for capital projects. The reason for the drop is that fairgrounds improvements were completed last year, significantly less revenue was needed this year.

Several expense categories showed increases.

The budget for building inspection and zoning is up $114,110 or 26 percent, from last year’s budget. The increase reflects creation of a couple of new positions.

The commission approved a part-time employee in the building department for summer only, Lyon said. And the zoning unit, which formerly only had a zoning administrator, now also has a zoning enforcement officer.

In fact, James Erickson, former zoning administrator, stepped down from the administrator post to take the zoning enforcement officer job.

Gary Mitchell, who has experience in the construction industry and formerly lived in Santaquin, is now the zoning administrator.

Data processing expenses are budgeted to go up $57,195 or 22 percent.

“We’re getting a new computer program, so that’s to help with the cost of conversion to the new servers,” Lyon said.

Tourism and county fair expenses are budgeted to go up $53,848 or 27 percent. That’s good news for the Sanpete County Fair, which got a $5,000 budget bump.

Non-departmental expenses are budgeted to go up $35,315 or 12 percent. The non-departmental category includes expenses affecting county government as a whole, rather than any specific department.

“The main difference is that our [Utah Association of Counties] dues were increased,” Lyon said. “They redid … their structure on how they did their dues on all the counties.”

Weed control expenses are budgeted to go up $21,200 because weed control was formerly a part-time activity and commissioners decided to hire someone full-time. The weed unit keeps weeds trimmed along the sides of county roads.

The full-time employee is being paid “half from the Weed Department and half from the Road Department,” Lyon said. “So they are just splitting the wages.”

County commission expenses are budgeted to go up $19,516 or 11 percent. That’s partly because expenses for the Miss Sanpete Pageant have been put under the “commission” line item, rather than under the fair board, Lyon said.

Economic development expenses are budgeted to go down $14,581 or 28 percent. That’s because 30 percent of the wages for Kevin Christensen, director of economic development and tourism, now come from the economic development budget, while 70 percent come from the tourism budget. The tourism budget relies heavily on transient room tax collections in the county. Previously, the salary split between the two functions was 50-50, Lyon said.

The county expended all $3.1 million of the CARES Act money (federal funds from a stimulus bill passed in March 2020) by the end of the year