The 2014 budget was proposed at $85.7 million, more than $4 million below this year’s $90 million budget which the commission balanced with a 23 percent property tax increase.
Chairman Tom Worthan said the final budget is a work in progress -- up to the time the commission takes a final vote.
District 3 Commissioner Mike Mulcare said the 2014 proposed budget would be more than $3.58 million less than Douglas County’s 2008 budget of $89.4 million.
“This means the budget has declined 4 percent over the past five years,” Mulcare said. “Our county operating expenses for things like food for our inmates, utilities, gasoline, asphalt, insurance and taxes, have increased, just as our citizens’ household budgets have increased,” he said.
Mulcare has pledged to roll back the millage rate “when and only when the tax digest reflects a marked recovery and other revenues can be reasonably relied upon.” He said the value of a mill Douglas County collects from residents to pay its bills is now down about 20 percent.
“Therefore it takes more of a mill in Douglas County to pay for gas, food, patrol cars and other operating costs than it does in most metro counties,” he said.
However, one item in the proposed 2014 budget which had almost universal community support was $250,000 for a new animal shelter, Mulcare said.
“Community interest in a new animal shelter is great as reflected by the comments regarding the shelter that have been made to commissioners,” he said.