The Hill County Commission Tuesday approved a budget with a $3 million reduction in spending, and did so without firing any employees, but also without much for new equipment and other capital outlays.
“It’s pretty frugal,” Commissioner Kathy Bessette said Tuesday.
The budget approved for fiscal year running from July 1 through June 30 next year was $20.413 million, compared to last year’s budget of $23.362 million.
Bessette said much of the reduction is due to grant funding that was in last year’s budget which the county was unable to continue — something that is becoming more and more common with federal programs that issue grants, she added.
“We’re on our own,” Bessette said.
Commission Chair Mike Wendland said a good portion of that came in the health department portion of the budget. Grant funding for programs like WIC and Family Planning is becoming harder to obtain, he said.
Wendland commended departments, like the Hill County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Don Brostrom, for continuing to find additional funding.
“If grants are available, they’re going after them,” Wendland said.
Wendland and Bessette commended the county’s department heads for keeping their budget requests low, making the job of setting the overall budget a little bit easier.
For several years now, the county has had department heads make a bare-bones request for items like salaries and wages, with a prioritized list of other items their departments need. The commission then can look at priorities and add what requests revenues make possible, rather than having to cut requests to meet the revenues.