County Budget Clears Second Reading

FAIRFIELD – County Council held a public hearing and passed second reading Monday night on a 2013-2014 budget that is nearly 11 percent leaner than the previous year’s budget. The County is working with a general fund budget of $22,645,189 for the coming fiscal year, down from the 2012-2013 general fund of $24,508,004. The capital fund for 2013-2014 is down more than $2 million from last year, at $10,795,568 versus $12,944,909 last year.

The largest drop in the general fund, in terms of dollars, is in the “General Fund Distribution” line item, which is down nearly $2 million from last year. Hinely said that drop reflects one-time expenditures from last year’s budget, such as $350,000 for construction at the library, $125,000 for construction of the new Board of Disabilities and Special Needs facility and more than $1 million to prop up Fairfield Memorial Hospital.

Percentage-wise, the biggest dip in the general fund can be found in the “QuickJobs Training Facility” line item, which has fallen 49 percent. Hinely said the drop doesn’t represent a decrease in actual financial support, however. Previous budgets, he said, had not been based upon historical data, as the QuickJobs Center was a new facility. Now that it has been operational for a few years, he said, the budget has been adjusted to reflect their actual needs.

The County plans to spend more than $80,000 less on attorney’s fees in the coming year, as well as more than $400,000 less on general operating expenses. The Capital Improvement fund and the Building Contingency fund both fell by more than $400,000 each, while Recreation Capital fell from $300,000 to zero. The Data Processing fund is up more than $175,000 from the hiring of a Database Manager and the purchase of new software applications, and the Department of Planning, Building and Zoning is up $167,079 from the hiring of new Code Enforcement Officers and the promotion of the Deputy Director.

There were no public comments or comments from Council during Monday’s public hearing. Council will hold their next work session on the budget on May 6.