By Nathalie Hardy • Columnist • 

County pointed toward $91 million budget

The budget is up $6.2 million or 7.3 percent. County Administrator Laura Tschabold said that was due in part to legislative action leading Community Corrections to project an increase in revenue and in part to projected Oregon Health Plan growth reflected in the county’s Health and Human Services budget.

It is scheduled for airing in a public hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 20, and formal adoption at 10 a.m. the following Thursday, June 27.

The county is bracing for a 2.8 percent increase in its Public Employee Retirement System obligations. It plans to draw $150,000 from a PERS reserve fund it has established, leaving a balance of roughly $1.2 million.

With very few exceptions, county department heads presented budgets designed to simply maintain the status quo, according to County Administrator Laura Tschabold. She said Yamhill County continues to spend less per capita than any of its neighboring counties.

The budget committee debated, once again, the best way to allocate the roughly $250,000 the county receives in state video lottery dollars. The law requires the county to spend the money on economic development, but provides little guidance in defining the term.

The county is expected to route some of that money to GROW Yamhill County, a group created by the McMinnville Economic Development Partnership under the direction of Executive Director Jody Christensen. GROW is seeking $55,700 from the county, but may not get the full amount.

Last year, the county allocated $20,000 directly to MEDP. Since it plans to fund the agency’s GROW program in some fashion this year, it is cutting its direct MEDP allocation to $10,250.

After conducting a review of departmental requests, the budget committee decided to recommend:

n Some $13 million of the county’s discretionary revenue be allocated to the criminal justice system. That represents an increase of $592,000.

n Health and Human Services get $1.6 million, up $374,000.

n The allocation for the parks department be bumped $28,000 to $123,000 because it is projecting no cash carryover this year for the first time in years.

n Assessor Scott Maytubby’s request for a 5 percent raise be rejected, leaving him at $74,318.

n Clerk Brian Van Bergen’s salary be bumped to $67,884, restoring the salary assigned to the position before it was docked on grounds of poor performance by Van Bergen’s predecessor, Becky Stern-Doll.

The budget committee’s compensation subcommittee awarded the three commissioners 3 percent raises, but all three turned them down. So their pay will remain at $70,948.

The committee made Van Bergen’s increase retroactive to Jan. 1, when he took office, but he was only willing to allow it to be made retroactive to March. He said he knew what the salary was when he filed, and felt he needed to establish himself in the job to justify any increase.

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