2022 budget approvals begin The Pierce County Board’s Finance & Personnel Committee met on Aug. 2 to discuss a number of items which included approval of 2022 department budgets and an AdHoc …
2022 budget approvals begin
The Pierce County Board’s Finance & Personnel Committee met on Aug. 2 to discuss a number of items which included approval of 2022 department budgets and an AdHoc Committee for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money the county received from the federal government.
The F& P Committee approved the formation of an AdHoc committee that will oversee and lay out recommendations for the county’s ARPA funds. Administrative Coordinator Jason Matthys proposed the idea of this committee, “It will be necessary and appropriate for Pierce County to create and establish an AdHoc Committee to provide recommendations of eligible uses to the County Board that are consistent with Treasury guidance,” said Matthys.
ARPA is designed to provide needed relief to state, local and tribal governments to enable them to continue to support the public health response and lay the foundation for a strong and equitable economic recovery.
The AdHoc Committee will include Matthys, County Treasurer Kathy Fuchs, Operations Data Analyst Josh Solinger, District 3 Supervisor Jon Aubart (River Falls) and District 1 Supervisor Kris Sampson (Prescott). Pierce County will receive a total of $8.2 million from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and has already received half of the money.
The 2022 budgets for the following Pierce County departments increases by $8,141 over the 2021 budget: County Board, Codification of Ordinances, Other Legal – Negotiations, Administration, Human Resources, Other General Administration – Postage, Indirect Cost Study, Independent Accounting & Auditing, Insurance, Cafeteria Insurance, Leave Liability and Debt Service. The total 2021 budget for these departments was $961,552 and the approved budget for 2022 is $969,693.
The increase comes from a one-time increase of $10,750 for a county code update, under codification of ordinances. The Leave Liability, a budget category that typically sees $50,000 added into its account every year, did not receive any money in 2021. For 2022, the county will add $10,000 after putting no money into the account in 2021. Leave Liability is used in the event that a senior-level employee with accrued leave time decides to retire or take a job elsewhere. The county must then pay out the leave hours to the departing employee.
The operating increases for these departments in 2022 totals $3,100. The only item that will see a decrease is salary/benefits, which lessens by $15,709.
F& P also approved the 2022 budgets for the following county departments at Monday night’s meeting; Corporation Counsel, County Clerk, Register of Deeds, Treasurer and AdHoc SecurityWorkgroup.
The budget for the Corporation Counsel will see a one percent increase in 2022 from 2021. The increase will come from operating expenses in Sundry Repair and Maintenance Service going from $364 to $382. The Corporation Counsel has also renewed its contract with Thomson Reuters. The monthly rate for this contract increases from $776.88 to $822.61, a $43.71 difference from 2021. The contract with Thomson Reuters will be up for renewal again in 2023.
For the County Clerk's office, the budget approved for 2022 amounted to $347,057 from $335,890 in 2021, a $11,167 increase. The increase comes from more elections taking place in 2022 than 2021 and staff wages and benefits. The F& P Committee will listen to adjustments that could be made to the election fund that could bring down the increase in budget for the County Clerk, depending what is needed for expected spending costs.
With the Register of Deeds office, the 2022 budget has seen a $17,000 increase from 2021. This increase comes from a larger increase in registers for county land in 2021 than in 2020. Register of Deeds Julie Hines shared that there are 600 more registers this year than this time last year and that there were over 2,000 registers throughout 2020 in Pierce County.
The County Treasurer's office budget will have a $5,449 increase from its 2021 budget to its 2022. The approved 2022 budget sits at a total of $384,415.
“The department's expense budget remains largely unchanged from previous years. The revenue projections are difficult at this time, as investment interest and bank interest is nominal. We have no way to predict what will happen as we go forward,” wrote County Treasurer Kathy Fuchs in an email to County Clerk Jamie Feuerhelm.
The AdHoc Security Workgroup budget remains the same for 2022 from 2021 at $46,000.
The committee also approved a one-time use insurance program for county employees that would cover any accidents. However, if a county employee chooses to take this insurance plan, it will be from their own out of pocket costs and is not covered by Pierce County. The insurance program will become available for current and new Pierce County employees on Jan. 1, 2022. The county hopes the plan’s provisions will provide extra benefits that could help with recruitment and retention of county employees.