By Sterling McGinn
Prior to the beginning of their December meeting, the Luce County Board of Commissioners held a budget hearing to review the proposed 2024 fiscal year budget prior to its approval during the regular session.
Both meetings took place on Tuesday, December 19.
A number of finance committee meeting dedicated to balancing the budget were held in recent months.
During the December 19 hearing, the board reviewed proposed cuts including reduced hours in the sheriff’s department. Both the office manager and a deputy will be reduced from 80 hours per pay period to 70 hours. The part-time government building cleaning position will also be eliminated.
In previous finance committee meetings, cutting commissioner pay was discussed but objected by some commissioners.
“If we cut our pay, we would have a balanced budget,” said board chair Michelle Clark, who was in favor of the pay cut.
“If there is no pay, it is harder to replace us,” said Commissioner Christine Rathje. In the approved budget, the commissioner pay was not cut.
The county will receive $20,000 from the airport in reimbursement grant money, and about $30,000 in swampland taxes.
After several cuts, the county budget was still $30,000 in the red, but money from the budget stabilization fund will make up the difference.
The board approved the 2024 budget later in the session.