Malheur County Courthouse

VALE — The Malheur County budget board wrapped up its work on the 2018-2019 fiscal year Wednesday and there was little change from the current fiscal year budget.

Among additions to the budget this year was a request by County Clerk Gayle Trotter to include funds for possible recall elections.

Trotter confirmed she had received inquiries from groups seeking information about the process for getting recall elections against Ontario City Council members and Treasure Valley Community College board members but nothing has been filed to date. However, she wants to be prepared because a recall election or elections would be an extra cost to her office, Trotter said.

Money was added to the line item for elections board, up to $16,000 from $3,000 adopted for the current fiscal year and to line items for ballot printing and supplies.

Other decisions that were finalized by the budget board, Lorinda DuBois, county administrator, said included approving $1,000 for the Snake River Economic Development Alliance, the same as provided in the current fiscal year. $5,000 was requested.

The board also approved $1,500 for the New Hope Kitchen, rejecting a request for $10,000, DuBois said. The county provide $2,500 for the current fiscal year.

Still unknown is where the general fund contingency fund will end up. The approved figure is about $1.8 million, but whether that amount will be sustained is a big question mark.

The contingency fund represents what the county has with cash on hand, DuBois said, but there is still two months to go in the fiscal year before the amount of carryover is known.

“We’re really conservative,” she said, about spending, noting that including not filling vacant positions.

Also casting a shadow over the contingency is the size of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes from the federal government, which does not pay property taxes.

DuBois budgeted about $2.165 million for the next fiscal year but the exact figure will not be known until June. There is no guaranteed level of funding of PILT in place at this time.

The general fund budget of $16,859,807 was approved as proposed and will be adopted by the Malheur County Court at a later meeting.

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