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Kootenai County commissioners eye $141 million budget

by KAYE THORNBRUGH
Staff Writer | August 4, 2023 1:08 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — Kootenai County commissioners voted unanimously this week to tentatively accept a $141 million budget for fiscal year 2024, which includes levying 3% more property taxes.

That’s an increase of about $4 million from the fiscal year 2023 budget. A 3% tax increase would represent about $1.7 million in revenue and bring the total levy amount to $59.4 million.

The public can weigh in on the budget during a hearing set for 6 p.m. Aug. 30. Commissioners are expected to adopt the final budget Sept. 1.

The county operations budget is $23.6 million, while the budget for capital purchases totals $2.3 million. The budget also calls for $31 million for Kootenai County Solid Waste.

Personnel costs make up the vast majority of the county’s budget — about $83.7 million of the total, on par with the 2023 budget.

This includes $5.3 million in wage increases. County employees will receive a 4.5% cost of living adjustment, totaling $1.8 million.

The budget includes $2 million to fix wages of longtime employees whose wages are below where they should be, Finance Director Brandi Falcon said Thursday.

Patrol deputies and Sheriff’s Office command staff will see increases totaling $1.5 million, based on a new salary matrix created by the county.

More than $700,000 is earmarked for career progression increases. County staff will receive an annual wage increase on their work anniversary.

The county will cut funding for open positions that have been unfilled for more than 100 days, which is expected to save about $2.5 million.

Kootenai County’s nine elected officials will also receive a raise that puts their wages at 97% of Canyon County’s FY 2023 elected official wage rates. Canyon County is the second most populated in Idaho, with about 231,000 residents as of 2021. Kootenai County is third, with about 171,000 residents.

Proposed elected official salaries for fiscal year 2024 are as follows:

  • Prosecutor, $159,182 (current salary is $138,382)
  • Assessor, $108,888 (current salary is $95,811)
  • Clerk, $114,878 (current salary is $97,240)
  • Commissioner, $108,992 (current salary is $95,534)
  • Coroner, $97,468 (current salary 82,888)
  • Treasurer, $110,136 (current salary is $95,014)
  • Sheriff, $145,516 (current salary is $119,392)

Commissioners voted Tuesday to publish the preliminary budget. It must be published by Aug. 14.

photo

Bruce E. Mattare

photo

Brooks