Sups end annual budget talks

The Webster County Board of Supervisors wrapped up budget hearings for fiscal year 2014 Friday.

Budget proposals from two departments reflected some uncertainty – as available funds will be partly dictated by state and federal action.

Russ Naden, director of the Webster County Veteran Affairs Commission, requested a budget of $105,628 for the fiscal year, which begins July 1.

This includes $56,800 for general services to veterans. The commission provides financial assistance to qualifying former service members with rent, food and medical care, as well as funeral expenses.

It is difficult to anticipate needs in these areas, Naden said.

Naden requested $33,710 for administrative expenses.

That includes $28,080 for Naden’s successor. He will vacate the office he’s held since 2008 later this year.

As mandated by state law, the veteran affairs director must be budgeted for no less than 30 hours per week.

Included in the department’s budget is a $10,000 grant from the state.

According to Naden, these funds have been appropriated for several years to be used in administering the office.

The Iowa Legislature has yet to approve them for the coming fiscal year, though Naden said the state is likely to do so.

Implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2014 could have ramifications for Webster County’s Community Services budget, according to Director Ken Hays.

The department, which oversees mental health and developmental disabilities services, receives funding from numerous sources. As such, much the department’s $3,121,859 proposed budget would come from outside the county’s general fund.

Hays pointed to cost-saving measures undertaken by the department, including affiliation with County Social Services, a consortium of more than 20 Iowa counties created to pool resources.

With the conclusion of hearings, Webster County has until March 15 to submit a completed budget to the state.