‘Debatable’ emergencies routinely alter budget

Sequim Gazette

The Clallam County Board of Commissioners will hold a hearing on 10 debatable budget emergencies as they wrap up the 2011 fiscal year.


County Administrator Jim Jones said the hearings occur quarterly as budget needs change throughout the year.


“We’re not allowed to spend more than is in our budget,” he said.


The debatable emergencies addressed at the Sept. 25 hearing amount to $174,000 in additional costs not included in the original 2011 budget. Of that, $100,000 is for expenses related to personnel arbitration and an increased premium for the Washington County Risk Pool.


Other costs include purchasing a printer/copier/scanner/fax machine for the jail, $6,950; overtime costs for the criminal investigations bureau, $12,750; purchase of legal publications for the law library, $12,000; and consultant and staffing costs in the Health and Human Services department, $21,930, among others.

Jones said he has the authority to allow payments on unforeseen expenses if they must go out within a certain time. Otherwise, they can wait for board approval, he said.


“It’s the dance you have to do with money,” he said.


According to county records, 34 debatable emergencies have been requested this year, up from 30 in 2010 but down from 41 in 2009 and 52 in 2008.


During the year, there also are budget changes involving increased appropriations as money comes in and budget reductions as funding goes away, he said.


So far this year, county departments have received 41 supplemental appropriations and seven reductions to their budgets.


The hearing starts at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 25 in the Clallam County Courthouse Room 160.
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