SWEETWATER COUNTY — The Sweetwater County Commission unanimously approved the county’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget Thursday morning in a special meeting.
The projected budget approved by the Commission states the county will have $46,835,696 in revenue, not including grant revenue, and $52,196,690 in expenditures. This leaves a shortfall of $5,360,994. With $5,161,700 in grant revenue and American Rescue Plan Act funds, the total shortfall for the budget is $5,591,559.
Bonnie Berry, Sweetwater County Accounting Manager, said that the projected cash carryover is $5,025,489. This, along with taking $500,000 out of reserves will be used to balance the budget.
She added that each county department has its own capital budget this year. However, it is for only small capital items.
“Each department has a capital budget but it is just for the small capital items… less than $1,500,” Berry said.
This year’s budget includes a 6 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for all county employees, as well as raises for all elected county officials, besides the commissioners themselves.
The county assessor, clerk, clerk of district court, and treasurer salaries, which will go from $100,000 to $125,000 in FY 2023. The county coroner salary will go from $65,000 to $85,000, and the county sheriff and attorney salary will move from $100,000 to $145,000.
Chairman Jeff Smith pointed out that the Commission “took care” of everyone but the Board of County Commissioners with this budget.
“Out of all the county employees we have, and all the elected officials we have, there are five people in this entire county that are not getting raises this year, or a COLA, and that’s us,” Chairman Smith said. “I don’t know if that’s correct or not, I know the hours that all of us put in, I know the amount of time we put in, I know the milage we drive that we do not turn in, I know that gas is almost five dollars a gallon, I know that our presentation on Tuesday showed that 9.3 percent is our inflation rate here in Wyoming.”
He said that it is unfavorable to give a raise to oneself, but that he believes not giving the Commission raises could discourage people from running for the seats, especially for the amount of time and energy the commissioners put into the job.
“I think that we may be limiting the people that would run or that would fill these seats in the future, maybe as soon as this fall, because of the time commitments, the things you’re asked to do for the amount of money that you’re paid,” Smith said. “We took care of everybody but us and I think that’s a little strange.”
To take a look at the full budget, see below.