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A large increase in the Box Elder County budget for next year is mainly due to a decision to hike pay for law enforcement personnel.

At their Nov. 6 meeting, the Box Elder County Commission approved a tentative budget of $42.6 million, up from $36.1 million a year ago. Much of the increase is due to a significant pay hike for law enforcement personnel, County Auditor Tom Kotter told the commission.

The tentative budget is still subject to final commission approval.

The budget includes a 2 percent cost of living raise for county employees, as well as a 7.5 percent increase in health insurance costs. Kotter said the Consumer Price Index has grown 1.8 percent since the county last implemented an employee raise.

He said the general fund anticipates collecting about $9 million in new property tax revenue, which would account for the increase in the budget.

A transfer of $1.5 million from the municipal service fund to the general fund will help offset the higher costs in the public safety budget, Kotter said. The budget for the county corrections department is slated to rise from $3.4 million last year to $4.5 million this year, based on what Kotter said is a “worst-case scenario.”

“That is for corrections being fully staffed, which we’re all aware they haven’t been,” he said.

The county redevelopment agency is scheduled to receive a budget of $4.1 million for the upcoming year.

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