Commissioners pass budget, 911 surcharge resolution

The Scotts Bluff County Commissioners have approved a fiscal 2014 budget that is not much different from last year other than a 3% salary increase for employees.

Last year the county's budget struggles did not allow for an employee pay raise. But Board Chair Mark Masterton said Monday the commissioners restructured their reserves on the suggestion of the auditor and there was money available to give the employees a cost of living increase.

The general fund budget has a property tax levy of 42.77 cents, which is similar to what the levy has been for the past three or four years. The tax asking increases slightly to $10.3 million dollars due to a $60 million increase in valuation.

The commissioners also passed a resolution formally establishing a $1 monthly service surcharge on land lines in the county for 911 costs.
The county has had the surcharge for years, but recently some regional phone companies, namely Century link, have balked at paying it because it was not established in resolution form.

Masterton says the surcharge revenue, which has decreased by half over the years because of the reduction in land lines, is vital for the Communications Center. He says the law has not kept up with the additional ways to communicate over the years, and the Public Service Commission needs to define what a land line is so it is clear everyone involved.

© 2014 Rural Radio Network. All rights reserved. Republishing, rebroadcasting, rewriting, redistributing prohibited. Copyright Information