Budget updates show grant increase

The Board of Josephine County Commissioners approved a supplemental budget that accounts for recent amendments made to the original 2022/23 fiscal year budget at their Feb. 8 weekly business session, held at Anne G. Basker Auditorium in Grants Pass.
“We do supplemental budgets all the time,” asserted Board Chair Herman Baertschiger. “We have our main budget, but as the year progresses things change, sometimes unexpectedly. And so we have to make adjustments to our budget.”
JoCo Finance Director Sandy Novak said much of the budget changes came about as a result of an IMEG grant being a higher amount than the county anticipated when the 2022/23 budget was adopted last summer.

“(The grant) set spending authority so that the sheriff, district attorney, legal and community development will have budget authority to spend it,” said Novak.
She continued, “This adds one school resource officer, a patrol deputy for marijuana enforcement positions to the Sheriff’s Office, a full time position in the District Attorney’s Office, a full time position in community development, and two positions in our legal office.

“This grant increased significantly but is not guaranteed beyond two years, so staffing increases were metered accordingly.”

Novak said this supplemental also codifies a change to the ISF rate from 8% to 7% in order to reduce sheriff expenses.

“Other items in the supplement include an increase in the payroll liability to account for the increased turnover that we’ve experienced,” the finance director said.

The airports department received a donation and sold a property, “and this supplement allows them to use those funds for operations,” said Novak.

Also accounted for in the supplemental: assessor’s office copier machine; veterans facilities carport; transit vehicle and transit fixed route management system; public health emergency preparedness coordinator, which Novak explained is funded by their modernization grant; and mental health outreach officer, funded through their increased grant.

Commissioner Dan DeYoung confirmed with Novak that the sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team currently has three members, and four more will be recruited using grant funding for a total of seven.

“Those deputies cannot be used for general patrol; only for marijuana eradication,” DeYoung pointed out.

Commissioner John West declined to make any comments or ask questions on the supplemental budget, saying, “I think I understand everything pretty well.”

The commissioners recognized the service of several county employees at the Feb. 8 meeting. All had been with JoCo for five years: Tanner Cherowe – Sheriff’s Office; Marlena Casteneda – Sheriff’s Office; Daniel Mulligan – Sheriff’s Office; Joseph Day – Transit; Charles Jakeway – Facility Services; and Helene Lulich – Real Property Manager.

Baertschiger assured the audience that although none of the recognized employees were present at the meeting, all would be presented with honorary pins. DeYoung called them “all good people,” and West remarked, “I just want to thank them for their hard work and hope we get another five years out of them at least.”