Wallowa County Commissioners have completed the 2009-2010county budget.

What residents can expect to see, according to commissioners, is a budget that reads much like the budget of 2008-2009. "There were few changes, nothing significant," said Administrative Services Director for the County, Gail Tally.

According to County Commissioner Mike Hayward, the county was saved from deep cuts by the full funding of Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT). The history-making legislative approval of full funding over the next four years upped the county's payment from $232,000 in 2008-09 to $373,000 in 2009-10.

The county will need the extra $150,000 because some line items show an increase that reflects the rising costs of supplies, labor and insurance, County Commissioner Dan DeBoie said.

"There have been no new hires," said DeBoie, "but costs have increased."

The budget as it stands, does not reflect money actually in the hand. "At some point we pick a number and publish it," said DeBoie. "This is our best estimate. The budget gives you the authority to spend up to that amount - however if you don't get the money you can't spend it."

Two of the deposits not yet received are the 1145 (Jail) money that the sheriff's office gets to house prisoners and some funding for the Commission on Children and Families.

Formal finalization of the budget is expected before publication of the budget in mid-June but the exact date at which commissioners know how much actual coin they have to work with is "subject to the legislative process, who knows?" said DeBoie.

A full analysis of the budget will appear in future editions of the Chieftain. The budget in its entirety will be published in a tab in the Wallowa County Chieftain the second week in June.

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