Dallas County passes balanced budget

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 26, 2003

Dallas County has passed its fiscal year 2003-2004 budget &045; and its in black ink.

The Dallas County Commission passed the budget by unanimous vote at its Monday meeting. Total proposed revenue for the county’s general fund was $8,314,587.65. Total proposed expenditures equal $8,303,716.72.

According to Dallas County Finance Director Nancy Wilson, that leaves a projected surplus of $10,870.93.

Wilson compared the cushion of money to extra cash left in an individual’s checkbook. &uot;When something unexpected comes up, and you know it will, you have a cushion there.&uot;

The county’s total operating funds, which are its general fund plus its restricted funds, are about $15 million.

The total budget amount for fiscal year 2002-2003 was $15,678,210.04, which is approximately the same amount as the upcoming fiscal year budget, Wilson said.

Restricted funds include the gasoline fund and funds gained from federal grants. Restricted funds may only be used for specific reasons, such as the maintenance of roads in the case of the gasoline fund.

The general fund is unrestricted and used for the county’s operation.

Wilson said no employee cuts would be made as a result of the budget. Instead, some new hires will occur, including a purchasing agent.

A purchasing agent will be responsible for buying anything the county needs. &uot;They’re going to ensure we get the best price and comply with the bid law,&uot; Wilson said.

About 210 people are currently employed by Dallas County.

Out of the approximately $8 million in the county’s general fund, $4.4 million, or 54 percent, is used for personnel and benefits. Wilson said that since government is service oriented, personnel and benefits are the biggest expenses.

Wilson noted that the law requires the budget be passed no later than the commission’s first meeting in October, which this year is Oct. 13.

However, if the commission hadn’t passed the budget by Oct. 13, Wilson said the county essentially wouldn’t have operated for 13 days.

Wilson began the budget process on July 2, 2003, when she forwarded forms to county department heads requesting budget information.

The forms were returned to Wilson before meetings occurred with the department heads to hash out where cuts and increases needed to occur.