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Budget talks continue between commissioners, departments

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Mason County Commissioners have been busy meeting with department heads throughout the past week shoring up the 2016 general and special fund budgets.

The Commission hopes to have a modified 2016 budget in time for a Dec. 7 public hearing.

Issues discussed throughout the week included how much to increase the Mason County Sheriffs Office budget and where to add raises and jobs. Here's a rundown of what happened:


On Nov. 19, Commissioners Terri Jeffreys and Randy Neatherlin held a special meeting surrounded by county department representatives in an effort to finalize the county's 2016 general fund budget.

Employees from the Mason County Sheriff's Office, District Court, Public Works, Economic Development and the Treasurer's Office were on hand, as well as Prosecutor Mike Dorcy and Coroner Wes Stockwell.

Budget Manager Frank Pinter presented the department representatives and commissioners with an updated general fund status document, which detailed the budget changes in each department expected in 2016.

The county officials sat in silence for almost 45 minutes analyzing the document for changes in their department before the commissioners announced they would set up final budget times for each department if they had questions.

"We were trying to be able to utilize the requests put in by everybody to see what we could pull off," Neatherlin said of the general fund status. "Because we have been moving forward as a county, we want to be able to help you get where you want to be."

The proposed general fund expenses total $37,983,322 - an increase of 5 percent over 2015, but still $18,418 less than was requested in preliminary general fund requests.

If ratified in its current language, the 2016 budget would grant increases to the budget of the Sheriffs Office and add eight full-time employees throughout the county departments.


For the first time in the 2016 budget process, the Mason County Sheriffs Office and county commission met Monday to discuss the sheriffs 2016 budget.

Neatherlin and Jeffreys sat with Sheriff Casey Salisbury, Undersheriff

Jim Barrett and Chief Deputy Theresia Ehrich to hash out particulars of the sheriffs proposed $17.5 million budget.

At the Nov. 19 budget workshop, commissioners outlined an increase of $300,000 to outsource inmates to Forks and Nisqually corrections facilities. On Monday, The Sheriffs Office met with commissioners to request an additional $378,356.

The Sheriffs Office originally requested $700,000.

The reasoning behind the supplemental request, according to Ehrich, is that the commissioners did not take into consideration how much more the office had to spend in 2015 when they approved the $300,000.

According to Ehrich, $321,436 in invoices for outsourcing has been paid so far in 2015, with the last invoices being paid from September.

Ehrich said she estimated that it would cost a little more than $300,000 more for invoices from September to December.

The office requested that the commission put a public hearing on the matter on the schedule for a meeting on Dec. 15.

The two entities also discussed the Sheriffs Office grant to pick up litter from the Washington state Department of Ecology.

The office had come under fire last month after it was brought up in briefings that it had failed to pay tipping fees at the Mason County landfill.

The County Commission wants the Sheriffs Office to include the grant funding within the special funds budget and also budget out the entirety of the grant — including tipping fees.

Commissioners also guaranteed the Sheriffs Office that five new patrol cars would be purchased as soon as possible.


On Monday afternoon, department heads filed into the commission chambers to hear what modifications had been made to the 2016 special funds budget.

All three county commissioners and Budget Manager Frank Pinter mulled over the changes in the budget as department heads looked on.

The total requested from county departments in September for 2016 special fund allocations was $57,552,337. At the meeting Monday, Pinter presented commissioners with $57,372,943, which is still a 9 percent increase from the 2015 special fund budget.

The special fund budget induced the creation of a boat officer in the Sheriffs Office. Mason Lake residents stormed a commission meeting earlier this year demanding a larger presence from the office on the water.

Copyright 2015 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: November 26, 2015

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