“The budget makes a significant investment in county infrastructure, both in infrastructure construction and road infrastructure,” Scott County Budget Director David Farmer said.
Sharma said the proposed budget reflected the “unique circumstances” the county faced “in dealing with COVID” and the need to add staff after years of nominal growth following the Great Recession from 2007 to 2009. .
In total, the proposed budget recommends the addition of a total of 14.25 full-time equivalent positions. This is in addition to nearly 20 full-time equivalent positions added between the last fiscal year and the current one.
“Governing is expensive,” Sharma said. “It may seem like a spike, that we’re suddenly adding double-digit numbers of employees…but the bottom fell” in 2007, leading to budget cuts and hiring freezes.
“For a while, you can do that,” but inevitably the quality, delivery and efficiency of county services suffer, Sharma said. “We hire based on need. Based on requirements. Based on the principle of not burning out. Based on retirements.”
And despite all that, the county would still reduce its levy, Sharma said.
“The budget remains perfectly balanced, with a single allocation (of funds) supporting one-time expenditures,” he said.