Welcome to the Moscow Minutes! In this article, we will provide a comprehensive debrief of the Latah County Commissioner meetings that took place between August 28, 2022, and September 3, 2022. The highlight of this week’s meetings was the public hearing for the Latah County Annual Budget for fiscal year 2023, which was approved. We will delve into the key points discussed during the meetings, including actions taken, budget details, and public comments.
Monday’s Action Items
The week started with a series of action items. The commissioners approved a lease agreement with Wells Fargo for the use of their copier in the District Auditor’s office. They also approved a sales order form with Alien Vault for county cybersecurity issues. Additionally, a memorandum of agreement was approved with Nez Perce County for the use of their juvenile detention facility. The commissioners then addressed the fiscal year 2023 indigent defense financial assistance agreement, which amounted to zero dollars due to shifts in public defense funding. Lastly, an executive session was held to discuss attorney-client communication and personnel matters.
Wednesday’s Discussion on Secure Rural Schools Fund Elections
On Wednesday, the commissioners discussed the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) fund elections. These funds are primarily used for schools and roads. The county’s control over the funds depends on where they allocate them. The commissioners expressed a desire to retain control for county purposes rather than returning it to the state. They motioned to allocate 80% of the funds to Title 1 spending and 20% to Title 3 spending, which was approved. Following this discussion, the commissioners held their weekly review and engaged in a discussion with the Capital Improvements Committee regarding committee membership and structure. Another executive session was held to address a personnel issue.
The Public Hearing for the Latah County Annual Budget
The most significant event of the week was the public hearing for the Latah County Annual Budget. During the public hearing, the county’s financial officer provided a summary of the budget. The total annual budget for fiscal year 2023 amounted to $28,629,106, an increase of approximately $3 million compared to the previous year. The taxes levied per $100,000 of taxable property decreased to approximately $309, down $80 from the previous year.
Key expenditures highlighted include a 5% salary increase for county employees and elected officials to account for inflation. Additionally, capital projects such as the construction of a new county building at 1313 South Blain Street, remodeling projects, HVAC replacements, and a replacement of the 9-1-1 communications system were included in the budget. Legislative changes at the state level have impacted county funding sources, and reallocation efforts are currently underway. This year, there have also been fee increases for the use of the fairgrounds and building permits.
The public hearing saw one primary source of public comment from Dan Schoenberg, a Moscow local. He raised questions regarding fee increases, the timeline for public notice of the budget, and a detailed explanation of the budget layout compared to previous years. After considering these and other questions, the public hearing was closed, and the commissioners voted to approve the budget as presented with no changes. The county resolutions associated with the budget were then read before concluding the day’s proceedings.
This article provided a comprehensive debrief of the Latah County Commissioner meetings that took place between August 28, 2022, and September 3, 2022. The key highlight was the public hearing and approval of the Latah County Annual Budget for fiscal year 2023. The budget included a 5% salary increase for county employees and elected officials, capital projects, and fee increases. Public comments were addressed, and the budget was approved without any changes. For more details on the budget, please visit the county website under the Clerk/Auditor’s page. Stay informed and feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Thank you for reading the Moscow Minutes!