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Shelton Mason County Journal
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September 11, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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September 11, 2014

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..... ,IJU .................... Thursday, Sept. 11,2014 - Mason County Journal - Page A-11 Preliminary budget requestsexceed revenue by S7M By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncoun com Expenditure requests ex- ceed projected revenue by $7 million in Mason County's first look at its 2015 current expense budget. The preliminary budget projects total revenue for 2015 to be $62.8 million and total expenditures to be $72.1 mil- lion. The total budget includes the current expense fund. The preliminary budget shows that Mason County will collect less revenue but spend more money than in each of the previous two years. The Mason County Board of Commissioners got its first look at the document during a briefing Monday morning and discussed it again at the commission's Journal photo by Natalie Johnson Mason County Chief Finance Manager Ed Baker briefs the Mason County Commission on Tuesday on the county's preliminary 2015 budget. regular meeting Tuesday. The preliminary budget, re- leased each September by the Mason County Auditor's Of- fice as is required by state law, includes projected revenue for 2015 and budget requests from department heads and elected officials. The commission plans to take public comments on the preliminary budget at its 6 p.m. Sept. 23 meeting in commission chambers at 411 N. Fifth St. In the current expense fund, which includes general government expenses, public safety and other departments, total revenue is projected to be $26.6 million with expendi- tures at $33.6 million. According to information provided to the commission by Chief Finance Manager Ed Baker, total county revenue for 2015 is projected to be $4.4 million lower than what was budgeted for 2014 and $3.4 million less than what was collected in 2013. Meanwhile, total expen- ditures will increase from $32.1 million budgeted in 2014 to $33.6 million in 2015. However, Commissioner Terri Jeffreys noted that a $5.2 million reserve amount was in- cluded in the 2014 budget, while no reserves were included in the 2015 preliminary budget. This could mean the in- crease in expenditures from 2014 to 2015 is much larger than it appears in the pre- liminary budget, Jeffreys said Tuesday. "When we take (the reserve) out, it somewhat masks the (increased) requests of the de- partments," she said. The Mason County Sher- iffs Office shows the largest budget increase of current expense-fund departments, growing from $10.3 million in 2014 to $15.4 million on 2015. Most of the Sheriffs Office budget, at $11.3 million, is al- located to salaries and benefits. Baker said this week he ex- pects the county could have an ending current expense-fund balance, or reserve, of about $9 million at the end of 2014. Baker said Tuesday he did not add the $9 million project- ed ending fund balance into the 2015 budget because he wanted to put only 2015 expenses and revenue into the budget. Almost 39 percent of the county's total revenue in 2015 will come from property and sales taxes. Charges for goods and services account for nearly 20 percent, and grants, entitle- ments and subsidies make up about 13 percent. Salaries and benefits make up largest expense for the county, accounting for 46.9 percent of all expenses and almost 71 percent of cur- rent expense-fund expendi- tures. Hiker missing in Olympic National Park found safe STAFF REPORT news@masoncoun com A hiker missing for almost four days in Olympic National Park was found safe Monday morning aider arriving at the Elwha Ranger Sta- tion. Kelly Hall had scrapes and bruises but was oth- erwise unharmed. Hall began his hike on Aug. 30 at the Obstruc- tion Point Trailhead near Hurricane Ridge and was supposed to meet with family members on Sept. 4 at the U.S. Forest Service Slab Camp trail- head. According to Olympic National Park staff, Hall said he lost the trail in foggy conditions in the area of Grand Pass and went the wrong way. Hall was able to fig- ure out his location and hiked along the Lillian River to find the Lillian River trail. The route included eight miles of strenuous, off-trail trav- el, according to Olympic National Park staff. While the trek took Hall longer than expect- ed, park staff said he was well equipped with food, a water filter, maps, a compass and other es- sential gear. He eventually met up with a group of hikers who gave him a ride to the Elwha Ranger Station. Search parties from the National Park Ser- vice; an aircraft and crew from the Washington State Patrol; and vol- unteers from Olympic Mountain Rescue, Clal- lam County Search and Rescue, German Shep- herd Search Dogs of Washington State, and Kitsap County Search and Rescue contributed to the search. We invite you to be the power that makes great things happen by living united and investing in what matters today; bringing neighbors and resources together to advance the common good right here in Mason County. 221 W. Railroad Ave. Suite-12, Shelton, WA 98584 -U~IE I~lll~0 360-426-4999 unitedwaymasonco.org VolunteerMason.ong Uko uS on Facebook, ~lkv BOATING UNDER THE BRIDGE :i;i Journal photo by Gordon Weeks A couple last week enjoys the sunny solitude on the dock next to the Harstine Island bridge, as boaters choose speed while jetting underneath the bridge. 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