Commissioners approve provisional budget for 2018

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The Moody County commissioners approved the provisional budget for the county for 2018 at their meeting on August 1.

They approved some one-time charges for the year and worked to change or lower other year-to-year expenses to save money where possible.

Eric Kovach, ambulance supervisor, met with the commissioners to clarify a few final things and see where reductions could be made.

His request for a new ambulance in 2018 was left in the provisional budget at a cost of around $226,000, including $35,000 for a new power loader that would lift someone into the ambulance.

Kovach said they would use the new ambulance for 10 years before coming back to request a new one.

They will trade in the 1996 ambulance currently used as the backup for roughly $5,000 and start using the 2013 model as the backup.

“We’re trying to make a stronger impact on the community,” Kovach said. “I know we’re asking a lot, but hopefully they can actually start to see us out there and see the benefit.”

At the August 15 commission meeting, the board will look at an example of the preferred new ambulance for the county.

The commissioners also reduced travel expenses for the ambulance, which includes travel and fuel, from $12,000 to $10,000.

Next, the Moody County Sheriff’s Office budget reflects a large change following the shift of all dispatch salaries to the 911 fund.

This raises the 911 fund from $84,875 in 2017 to $303,575 in 2018.  

In the past, the county has paid all dispatchers, deputies and the sheriff from the same salary line within the sheriff’s office budget.

Commission Assistant Marty Skroch said this became challenging because the county dispatches for the city, county and the tribe.

“We try to give the [city and tribe] as accurate a reflection as possible as to how much they should pay us this year for their percentage,” Skroch said.

He said some confusion arose because three of the sheriff’s deputies are also certified dispatchers. Because of the shortage of full-time dispatchers, the deputies often end up dispatching.

Paying them from the same salary line created difficulty in knowing how much they’re being paid.

With the new change, Skroch said when the county presents numbers to the city and tribe, what they’re paying for will make more sense.

The sheriff’s office will also add 24 hours a week to the sheriff’s travel budget to work towards meeting the contracted hours in surrounding towns rather than hiring another full-time deputy.

“Those 24 hours we’re looking at having, during those hours it’s completely additional to what we’ve had to be kind of dedicated to helping in Colman, Egan, Trent and Ward to make sure we’re visible and in those towns and at times the towns want us there,” Skroch said.

The county will test out how the additional hours help and reassess during the year.

With the shift of dispatchers salary to the 911 fund and the additional 24 hours, the sheriff’s office provisional budget will go from $725,373 in 2017 to $555,872 in 2018.

Other changes made the the county’s provisional budget include lowering the Director of Equalization office’s travel request from $5,700 to $4,400.

Director of Equalization DeAnna Berke will also move up to the salary of an elected courthouse official, from $47,476 to $49,300.

The Moody County Resource Center library budget will increase from $77,428 to $83,845.

These changes are due to librarian Erica Rorvik moving from an hourly to a salaried employee and from an increase of $2,300 in supplies for coming under the computer leasing program in the county and for a one-time purchase of chair mats.

The commissioners also voted in the provisional budget for a 2-percent wage increase across the board for both salaried and hourly employees of the county.

The county budget for 2018 will be published in the August 16 edition of the Enterprise and finalized in September.

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