HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Although no final decision has been made on the county budget, it appears commissioners want to keep the mill levy for 2019 the same as this year at 41.675 mills.
Commissioners went through all the various numbers, including a request from three departments for additional personnel.
That includes adding an attorney to the District Attorney’s Office, one Information Technology employee, and a new driver for Rcat.
Commissioner Deming was opposed to adding any new positions, including a new attorney for the D.A.’s office. Deming said they could manage their office and cases better. But Bob Bush fired back. Bush told Deming he had no way of knowing their needs without working in that office. Commissioner Hirst seemed neutral on the topic. Another attorney would also require some additional office space. Deming estimated that would cost around $12,000.
Bush and Hirst did agree with Deming in saying they don’t believe adding an additional bus driver to Rcat is necessary, but disagreed on adding a new IT person.
Deming provided the other commissioners and the media with numbers that included step increases for some county employees of 3 percent.
According to those numbers, for all of the costs including benefits, the total for new hires would come to $759,485.
Valuations for the county are up. That means it could afford the new hires without the mill levy going up. However, Deming questioned the need for even a 3 percent increase for employee salaries, which he says is more than the military increase approved by Congress and 2.7 percent more than those who received Social Security this past year.
No final decisions were made Tuesday. A special meeting on the budget is scheduled for July 23. If all goes well then, there could be a public hearing on the 2019 budget on Aug. 14.