After months of discussion over which county departments needed budget increases to function properly or prevent staff from becoming overwhelmed with their work, the Utah County Commission passed a resolution on Dec. 17 finalizing its 2020 budget.

Multiple departments and agencies urged the commission to increase their budgets for the upcoming year. In their discussions, Commissioners Tanner Ainge, Nathan Ivie and Bill Lee all agreed that some departmental budget increases were necessary.

Total general fund expenditures for 2019 were $94.3 million, according to the budget resolution passed by the commission. The commission voted 2-1 to increase general fund expenditures by $10.1 million, 10.7%, for 2020, making total general fund expenditures for next year $104.4 million.

Ainge and Ivie voted in favor of the resolution, saying that these budget increases were necessary for departments like the sheriff’s office and attorney’s office to serve their essential functions for the community.

Here is a breakdown of the 2020 budget passed by the Utah County Commission and a look at which county services will see budget increases and which will see cuts.

Methodology: This data comes from the 2020 budget resolution adopted by the Utah County Commission on Dec. 17, which was provided by Deputy Clerk Josh Daniels. The increases and decreases were calculated by subtracting the 2019 current budget from the 2020 final budget.

The biggest budget increases

Attorney’s office: $2.6 million increase (28.9%)

The biggest dollar-amount increase between 2019 and 2020 will go to the Utah County Attorney’s Office, which will see its annual budget increase from $9.2 million to $11.9 million. This includes a $2.5 million increase for hiring additional staff and personnel, which was $8.3 million this year. There was also a $262,183 increase in charges from internal service funds. Those dollars are used to pay for services between county departments.

The attorney’s office is the agency that prosecutes criminal cases in the county and also serves as an advisor to elected officials in county government.

Non-departmental funds: $1.2 million increase (65.8%)

Funds that don’t go toward a specific department or agency but can be used for services that apply to the county as a whole will increase from $1.8 million to $3.1 million, a nearly two-thirds increase. $1.1 million will go toward materials, supplies and services while $55,000 will fund personnel.

Elections division: $1 million increase (62.2%)

The county’s elections division, which is part of the clerk/auditor’s office, will see its budget jump from $1.6 million to $2.6 million. $817,624 of this increase will be for materials, supplies and services, $115,642 for charges from internal service funds and $82,846 will go toward personnel. No new funds will go toward capital equipment.

In recent weeks, Ivie has spoken at length about the importance of funding elections services to keep elections in the county secure and efficient.

Auditor: $776,432 increase (63.8%)

Another branch of the clerk/auditor’s office, the auditing division, will see its budget increase from $1.2 million to $1.9 million. The breakdown of this increase is $582,037 for personnel, $148,195 for internal service fund charges, $46,200 for materials, supplies and services and none for capital equipment.

The county auditor is responsible for vetting county departments and services to ensure they are running efficiently and spending money appropriately.

At a Dec. 5 town hall, Ivie said that the auditor’s department has been “stretched so thin” that there are departments in the county, including the sheriff’s office, that “haven’t been audited for years.”

Inter-agency allocation: $714,637 increase (8.6%)

Inter-agency allocation, expenses that relate to an obligation of the county that is carried out with other government agencies, will increase from $8.2 million to $8.9 million. All of this money will be used for materials, supplies and services.

At a town hall held on Dec. 3, Commissioner Tanner Ainge said that, if an inter-agency allocation increase was approved, some of the money would go to the Utah County Public Defender Association.

The Daily Herald reported on Dec. 2 that public defenders in the county are “at full capacity” and have seen an increase in cases assigned to them over the years.

“I think there’s no question our caseloads are too high,” said Margaret Lindsay, a Utah County public defender.

Sheriff’s Office corrections: $542,562 increase (1.7%)

One of the roles of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office is to oversee and staff the Utah County Jail in Spanish Fork. Sheriff’s office funds that go toward the corrections bureau will increase from $31.5 million to $32 million, with $505,500 going toward overtime pay, $322,500 to medical supplies and services for inmates and $278,109 to personnel. Charges from internal service funds will decrease by $489,197.

On Dec. 3, former Utah County Sheriff Jim Tracy told the county commission that the county jail has been understaffed “for years.”

Sheriff’s Office enforcement: $379,964 increase (1.8%)

The enforcement bureau of the sheriff’s office, which consists of patrol, investigations, emergency services and judicial and civil divisions, will see its budget increase from $20.9 million to $21.2 million. $665,053 of this will be charges from internal services funds, $19,462 will go toward overtime and $2,668 to personnel. Funds for materials, supplies and services will decrease by $278,039.

Human Resources: $290,848 increase (15.5%)

The Utah County Office of Human Resource Management provides resources services, including payroll, to around 1,200 county employees. Its budget will increase from $1.8 million to $2.1 million, $190,844 of which will be charges from internal service funds. An additional $71,021 will be for personnel and $28,983 for materials, supplies and services.

Public Works administration: $180,447 increase (35.9%)

The administration of the Utah County Public Works Department will see its budget increase by more than a third, from $502,590 to $683,037. Charges for internal service funds will increase by $182,207 and personnel will increase by $6,430. Funds for materials, supplies and services will decrease by $8,190.

The public works department is responsible for maintaining public parks and issuing permits for events in the county.

The biggest budget cuts

Extension: $118,363 decrease (23.3%)

Utah County Extension Services, which includes a collaboration with Utah State University to provide research-based education for Utah Valley residents, received $508,363 in line-item funds from the county’s general fund budget in 2019. It will receive $390,000 in inter-agency allocation funds next year, a budget decrease of $118,363.

Justice Court: $239,812 decrease (16.2%)

The Utah County Justice Court in Provo will see its budget decrease from $1.4 million to $1.2 million. Personnel funds will decrease by $195,067 and charges from internal service funds by $51,535. Funding for materials, supplies and services will increase by $6,790.

Utah County Fair: $156,103 decrease

While the annual Utah County Fair received $156,103 from the county’s general fund in 2019, it will receive zero of this money next year.

When discussing a possible cut to the county fair, Ivie said he enjoyed the fair personally but did not see it as an essential government service that the county should fund.

Agriculture: $11,337 decrease (15%)

The Utah County Agriculture Inspection Agency is a consumer protection agency that regulates and oversees licensing of agricultural products in the county. Its funding will decrease from $75,467 to $64,130. Funding for materials, supplies and services will be cut by $5,995 and charges from internal service funds by $5,342.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

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