The Quay County Commission approved an $11.6 million preliminary expense budget for the county's 2009-2010 fiscal year beginning July 1 at its meeting on Friday.
This compares with $11 million in expenses for the previous 2008-2009 fiscal year budget, said Quay County Manager Richard Primrose.
Projected revenues for the upcoming fiscal year are $10.6 million. The majority of the $1 million difference in expenses and income is for loans on new fire equipment being purchased by the county's fire departments, Primrose said.
"It looks like we don't have a balanced budget, but we do. One reason is that the cash reserves are carried forward," Primrose said. There is about $600,000 in capital improvements, or cash reserves, that are being carried forward from the previous fiscal year, Primrose said.
The capital improvements are there in case the county has any emergency expenditures that could come up because "we know there are no capital improvements coming from the Legislature," Primrose said.
One difference in the budget is a three percent raise in salaries for the county's 70 employees, Primrose said. At a budget workshop, the commission reviewed the county's finances and decided that the county could afford the $37,000 in additional expenses, he said.
Overall, salaries accounted for $1.9 million in fiscal year 2008-2009, and will account for $1.937 million in the upcoming budget, Primrose said.
While the rising cost of health care is often the cause of sizable increases in budgets, the county's health insurance did not rise. The county participates in a statewide health program, and it was decided that those costs would remain steady throughout the state, but with a reduction in benefits, Primrose said.
The county will pay the same as last fiscal year, or $210,000 in health care insurance costs for employees who participate in the program, about half of the county's employees.
However, the deductible costs and co-pays for employees have risen. County employees pay for 60 percent of the health care insurance coverage costs, and the county pays 40 percent, Primrose said.
A large portion of the county's budget is appropriated for health care services that it provides, including payments to Medicaid and for indigent care; the operation of the Dan Trigg Memorial Hospital and the Presbyterian health care center on Main Street; and maintenance of the building used by the state health clinic on Miel de Luna Avenue.
Other expenses include $1.1 million for the operation of the Quay County Detention Center, including its juvenile unit, as well as the operation of the Quay County Courthouse building and the offices at the courthouse which houses the county's offices of administration, clerk, tax assessor and treasurer.
The county's preliminary and final budget must be approved by the state's Department of Finance and Administration. The DFA's deadline for the preliminary budget is June 1, and the deadline for the final budget is July 31, Primrose said.