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Staffing, new facilities among top priorities for 2020 Cole County budget

The budget discussions for Cole County agencies launched Wednesday, as commissioners met with the heads of several departments they oversee.

Presiding Commissioner Sam Bushman told ABC 17 News county leaders will work to evaluate spending priorities over the next 13 weeks.

“We have to look at priorities and see what we really, really, really need to have and what we can put off for a little while because, unlike the federal government, we can’t print more money,” said Bushman.

The budget must be signed in mid-January and Bushman said the county’s financial plan will be narrowed down to the most essential expenditures between now and then.

“It’s the beginning of the budget process for 2020,” said Bushman. “It’s kind of like when we were little and would make our Christmas list. You’d ask for everything and if you got a third of them or a fourth, you did well.”

Bushman said additional staff at the Cole County Health Department, an assistant position in the facilities department and increased funding for emergency medical services are the main anticipated priorities in the 2020 cycle.

The budget proposed by County Auditor Kristen Berhorst for 2020 was $88.4 million, a slight increase from the 2019 final budget of $86.9 million.

The full Cole County Commission meeting can be viewed below:

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