County treasurer, budget OK going into mid year

The Board of Kitsap County Commissioners Monday heard news from the county’s money handlers that the 2012 budget is holding up as of mid-year.

“It’s about on track,” said Chaz Hilton, senior financial analyst for Kitsap County.

The in-the-black condition of the $78 million operations budget is largely attributed to be the result of better revenue projections by staff and less labor expense for a government trimmed by  years of layoffs and attrition of county employees. As of May 10, 33 on-the-books jobs were unfilled in departments such as the prosecutors office, the auditor’s office, the treasurer’s office and sheriff’s office.

If the year ended today, the county could put $827,000 into a reserve status, Hilton said.

Pushing more good news on the BOCC as they begin to work on the 2013 budget, the Department of Community Development, which lives off building and development fees, is likely to end the year around $87,000 in black if trends continue.

Even with the county’s loss of $250,000 in sales tax revenue from the city of Port Orchard’s recent annexation of the Bethel Avenue commercial corridor, property taxes, sales taxes that contribute to Juvenile Justice and real estate excise tax show to be at or above county projections for the year.

Kitsap County Treasurer Meredith Green said that the county saw better than expected cash receipts from two recent large real-estate sales. One bump came in April when $32 million was taxed and another in May for tax on a $5 million sale; together the sales put $244,000 into the budget for the year. Green said that a controlling interest in the Silverdale Shopping Center on Silverdale Way changed hands and as a result, $32 million was taxed as if the shopping center actually sold. That helped push the real estate sales revenue more than $187,000 above projections in April alone.

Aside from the two spikes, the 2012 budget is “spot on,” Green said. “We’re hitting projections,” she said.

The county leaders said they plan to stay focused on the idea that they will see no growth in revenue this year or throughout 2013 and will try to plan accordingly for the next budget cycle.

“We were conservative going into this year,” Hilton reminded the BOCC.

Though the budget is for now in the black, several budget driven concerns remain before the BOCC as a result of the still unresolved and expired labor contract with the jail, as well as expenses to provide legal defense for citizens that cannot afford their own counsel outpacing the current budget. Unemployment expenses from years of layoffs may come in over budget as well.


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