By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff Writer
The Bonner County Commissioners, elected officials and department heads are near completing the county budget for the 2018 fiscal year, according to an announcement Friday.
Though it is not finalized, current projections say Bonner County will be cutting almost $3.55 million from the budget.
Commissioner Dan McDonald said one example of a simple but substantial cut would be that the Road and Bridge department was budgeting $550,000 for gas each year when their past fuel expenses never exceeded $160,000.
“Things like that were low- hanging fruit,” said McDonald. “All in all, the cuts will not affect services in any sector and frankly, we believe there may be more savings to come.”
McDonald emphasized that while Road and Bridge as well as Justice are the two largest county departments, there was “fat in the budget” across all departments able to be cut.
“All departments stepped up and found savings once they realized the unsustainable path that has been created over the past eight or so years,” he said.
In addition, the county is seeking self-insured status in the coming months, which McDonald said could save up to $500,000 a year in premiums while allowing them control over litigation so “the county stops being an ATM machine for anyone that wants to bring a suit.”
There will be meetings open to the public on Aug. 28 regarding the nearly finished budget. The first is at 10 a.m. and the second is at 6 p.m. Both meetings will be held in the large conference room on the first floor of the Bonner County Administration Building.