The Tooele County Council is gearing up to write their first county budget.
Tooele County Department heads and elected officials presented their 2022 budget requests to the County Council during a work session meeting held Monday, Sept. 13, at 4 p.m. in the County Council meeting room.
County Auditor Alison McCoy started off the meeting with some general assumptions.
The County is estimating a 2.6% cost of living increase and a 1% merit increase for employees, according to McCoy.
Inflation, at 5.4% in July, and the current job market are expected to be a factor in the 2022 budget, McCoy said.
The Sept. 13 work session was for departments to present budgets for expenses. No revenues were discussed. Departments were asked to use their 2021 budget as a base for preparing their 2020 budget.
Most departments presented their 2022 budgets with less than a 5% increase over their 2021 budget.
The largest increase came from a request for the Economic Development Department, represented by Rachelle Custer, director of Community Services.
Custer proposed a budget of $793,891, a 230% increase over 2021. The request included a full-time economic development director and $500,000 to match potential grants to the County for economic development projects.
The Information Technology Department Director asked for a 27.5% increase to cover increased costs in maintenance and support contracts and new software and hardware.
Sheriff Paul Wimmer asked for a 23.4% increase. The bulk of the increase would be to increase the salary of uniformed deputies to be comparable to the salary approved by Tooele City.
Wimmer said he is currently down five officers with another three testing for positions in other cities. He also asked for a 21.4% increase for the dispatch budget with a pay increase to match neighboring dispatch centers.
Rachel Cowan, Children’s Justice Center director, asked for a 2022 budget of $420,947, a 17% increase, however $209,171 of that 2022 budget is in pass through funds, she said.
Cowan also wants to add an in-house trauma trained mental health therapist to the Center’s staff.
Human Services Director Gary Dalton presented a budget for $5.5 million, a 14.75% increase. The 2022 budget increase includes mandatory increases in Medicaid Match and Behavioral Health payments, he said. Dalton also asked for $2 million for a dollar for dollar matching grant for the Harris Village Project from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. If the grant is awarded, the $2 million could come from the County’s COVID funds, he said.
Bucky Whitehouse, emergency services director, requested $1.2 million for 2022, a 12.5% increase. Whitehouse highlighted the cost of maintaining towers for the county’s communications system, heating and ventilation system needs for the Emergency Operations Center/Dispatch building and an increase in yearly service agreements.
Tooele County Clerk Tracy Shaw asked for $234,500 for her elections budget, a 7.5% increase. The increase would cover the purchase of a jogger to help with ballot counting and adding cameras to the ballot room for security. There is a possibility of a grant to help with the cameras, Shaw said.
Mark McKendrick, facilities director, presented a list of $6.3 million of capital improvement projects.
The total of all 2022 requests compared to the 2021 was not available. McCoy said her department needed time to compile the different requests by fund, as department budget requests cross through different funds.
With department head requests in hand, it is now the County Council’s duty to look at revenue and what can and can’t be trimmed from expenses, said Tooele County Council Chairman Tom Tripp.