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Hamilton County budget offers several options

Tana Weingartner

Hamilton County Commissioners are expected to discuss the 2013 general fund budget Monday morning.

County Administrator Christian Sigman will formally present his recommended financial plan during an 11am staff meeting. This year, however, there's a bit of a twist...

“After five consecutive years of budget cuts, looking at a $20 million deficit for 2013, I made the decision to actually create three different scenarios for the commissioners to consider,” he says.

Sigman says each scenario is balanced.

'Option A' is the most austere, focusing only on core county services such as the jail and sheriff's office.

'Option B' focuses on economic development by getting rid of development fees.

'Option C' recommends co-locating a new crime lab with a jail-like treatment facility to help reduce overcrowding at the jail.

Both options B and C include a quarter percent increase in the county sales tax. Sigman says Option B offsets the increase by moving some functions of the indigent care levy to the General Fund and reducing that property tax.

Each option recommends a three percent wage increase for county workers. They haven’t had increases in five years and Sigman says the county needs to be competitive in attracting and keeping qualified employees.

The board is scheduled to adopt a 2013 budget November 14th.