Proposed budgets for Marion and Polk counties call for staff reductions

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County budgets continue to be impacted by millions of dollars from COVID-19 relief funds from programs like the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which don’t have to be spent until 2025.

In Polk County, the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 will be significantly smaller than the current budget year as the one-time funds have largely been spent.

And in Marion County, the new budget will be slightly larger, in part because major capital projects will be paid for from COVID funds.

However, both counties will see workforce reductions in the 2024-2025 budget year: 14 fewer in Marion County and five in Polk County. They both still have more staff than before the pandemic.

Both counties’ budget committees have approved their budgets, and the respective commissioners are expected to vote and approve their budgets on June 26.

The proposed budget for Marion County, which has a population of 346,703 and includes 20 incorporated towns, would increase by $12.9 million, or 1.8%, to $732 million.

But that includes $44.6 million in one-time funds for capital projects.

These projects, largely funded through ARPA, include:

Marion County expects to have 1,658 employees, a decrease of 14 from last year. The province says 20.2 full-time positions, most of which were paid for with COVID-19 relief funds, will be eliminated.

Marion County Chief Administrator Jan Fritz said 18 of those positions were in health and human services, one in the sheriff’s office and one in the district attorney’s office.

“The program wasn’t funded and they had to lay people off,” Fritz said. “They had to look at the remaining positions they had due to COVID.”

It will also add four new positions in health and human services, including three housing navigators and a clinical supervisor.

The county has budgeted $216 million (36% of the proposed budget) for transportation and infrastructure, $131 million (22%) for public safety, $107 million (18%) for health and human services, and $61 million (10% ) for economic development. , money used to promote, support and develop businesses in the province.

The county has budgeted $11.5 million for a proposed transfer station, including finding land for it and designing it. Revenue from the existing transfer stations (Salem-Keizer Recycling and Transfer Station, North Marion and Brown’s Island) is estimated at $10.4 million this year.

Polk County’s budget drops by $3.6 million

Polk County’s budget drops $3.6 million, or about 4%, to $124.7 million.

Polk County, population 89,614, has five incorporated cities.

The proposed budget allocates $42 million for behavioral health services, $7.3 million goes to the sheriff’s office for patrol, $7.5 million for jail operations and $6 million for road maintenance.

Health care will be cut by $1.8 million as federal funding for programs such as housing subsidies and nonprofits is depleted, and public health services will decline by $225,000.

But the budget for the behavioral health department will increase by $5.8 million because of state money for things like mental health care, addiction services and money to help people with developmental disabilities.

Public works would be cut by $2.2 million due to the completion of projects such as Grand Ronde Road and Buena Vista Park, and the Polk County Fair fund would drop by $242,000 to $505,000 due to a decrease in one-time ARPA -funds.

The province is also reducing staff by 5.4 positions, three of which are in healthcare, 1.8 in public health and three associated with ARPA funds. It also eliminates a position in the sheriff’s office. But the county is expanding the Behavioral Health Department by three positions.

The county’s contingency fund, the amount of money it saves for unexpected expenses and can only spend by decision, is proposed at $3.2 million, down from $405,354.

“Hopefully I can grow that fund,” said Polk County Executive Greg Hansen, noting that this is important because this is the county’s seed fund for the next fiscal year.

Bill Poehler covers Marion and Polk County for the Statesman Journal. Contact him at [email protected]