County budget dips into reserves

Island County will continue dipping into funds set aside for emergencies in order to make up for revenues lost because of COVID-19.

On Monday, county commissioners adopted the 2021 budget, which largely maintains services at current levels, Budget Manager Doug Martin said.

The biggest coronavirus-related hit to the county’s budget is lost sales tax revenue. To stabilize services, the county will use about $500,000 of reserve funds this year. The 2021 budget forecasts another $2.4 million in reserves will be needed.

But even with the dip into reserves, this rainy-day fund will still be at around $10 million, which is a healthy 30 percent of the current expense fund.

The county’s largest funds are the $33.5 million restricted Road Fund and the $29.5-million current expense fund — also know as the general fund. The biggest expenditure in the current expense fund is the 56 percent that goes to law and justice departments, which includes the sheriff’s office, the prosecutor’s office and courts.

In addition to using reserves, commissioners are making a few cost-saving measures. They created a new “administrative services director” who will be a department head overseeing human resources, information technology, general services and the budget department.

Each of these departments will be headed by “managers” who report to the administrative services director instead of department heads who report to commissioners.

Nobody will be laid off, but, through attrition, the move will result in savings up $230,000 a year.

Overall, the county staffing will decrease by 2.9 full-time equivalent positions, or FTEs.

The county 441.5 FTEs, excluding elected officials.