After several months of hard work, the Franklin County Commissioners finalized and adopted the budget for fiscal year 2020 during its Aug. 26 meeting.

The new fiscal year begins on October 1, 2019, with the new budget covering over 50 line-items and expenditures. The county budget has grown over the current 2019 fiscal year budget, with the new one coming in at $46,339,974.

The FY2019 budget was $43,342,299. Part of the difference in the budget totals are state mandated requirements for increases for public defenders and federal increases for the airport as well as several other fiscal requirements of the county. There was also a modest increase in payroll costs of 3% in a COLA increase. The growth in population and its impact by adding to the property tax revenue will largely offset the FY2020 budget growth.

Jared Ricks of the Idaho State Public Defense Commission held a brief discussion with the county commissioners and announced that rules for the hiring and scope of public defenders duties will be put off for a year. “We want to get this right,” said Ricks. Commissioner Dirk Bowles agreed strongly with the statement, and pointed out “that getting it right is more important than getting it fast.”

County Prosecuting Attorney Vic Pearson listened to the whole conversation and asked Ricks if the mandated increase in Public Defenders would lead to the entire program being taken over by the state, because the burden of paying for the program was going to be very difficult at some point for the counties. Ricks gave a vague answer to the effect that he couldn’t speculate on what the legislature might do in the future.

Austin Bracken spoke to the commissioners regarding the status of the elevator in the courthouse. Bracken said that the various parts had been ordered, but the elevator is so old that parts often have to be custom made because off-the-shelf items had disappeared many decades ago.

“When will it be finished?” Commissioner Bowles asked very directly. Bracken replied that maybe by November because the parts are very difficult to replace in the 80-year-old system. Even when repaired the elevator will not be ADA compliant.

The Family Dollar Store in Preston asked for and received a Retail Alcoholic Beverage License from the commissioners.

The balance of the meeting covered routine meeting and county business subjects, with the commission going into executive session at about 11:45 a.m.