The Lafayette County finance committee worked on making up a $280,000 budget deficit by asking for several county departments to make further cuts.
Department heads were asked to present the finance committee a balanced budget with a 0 percent increase. The finance committee held budget hearings Sept. 7-9 to take a closer look at each department’s budget and ask questions about the proposed budget. Another meeting on Sept. 14 was held to make some final decisions.
After many hours of meetings and hard cuts to several departments’ budgets, the county’s finance director, Sandy Deininger, said the county budget still faced a deficit. She said she would take money out of the unfunded retirement account that has built up a surplus over the last few years.
“Now that we have the hospital at a sizeable profit, we could draw from the hospital profit to keep [Lafayette County’s] tax levy the same,” Deininger said.
In the past the hospital transferred profits from their accounts to the health department. In 2010 that transfer totaled $125,000. Deininger changed that practice so the money will be transferred to the county’s general fund instead, allowing the county board to determine where the money is used.
The finance committee also talked with Bill Moody of the Lafayette County Fair committee to straighten out insurance issues, where both the fair committee and county were paying for separate insurance policies. The finance committee also discussed having a separate fair board.
“Why is the county in the entertainment business?” county board supervisor Ron Niemann said. “We should start a fair board and slowly remove the county funding.”
Moody reported that the fair has been losing money in the last two years. Supervisor Jack Sauer said the city of Darlington should be contributing some money to the fair since it brings so much business to the city. County clerk Linda Bawden said the fair committee should seek more volunteers to save the money spent to pay workers.
The next finance committee meeting will be Sept. 28 at 3 p.m.